The FTSE 100 and European stocks finished mixed this Friday after steadier comments from a US Federal Reserve chief about the outlook for interest rates and as Arm snubbed London to list in New York.
Across the pond, US stocks were higher while bond yields fell, with the 10-year Treasury note falling back below the key 4% level.
Atlanta Federal Reserve president Raphael Bostic said he favoured "slow and steady" quarter-point US rate increases to limit risk to the economy.
The yield on the benchmark 10-year US Treasury note (^TNX) fell more than 2% but hovered close to the 4% level Friday.
In London, the British microchip company Arm has confirmed it has rejected ministers' lobbying and will proceed with a bumper US stock market listing, ending speculation about a primary or a secondary listing in the UK.
Arm, owned by Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T), is the world's biggest supplier of chip design elements used in smartphones, selling intellectual property to companies such as Apple Inc and Qualcomm Inc.
Victoria Scholar, head of investment at Interactive Investor, said: “Softbank-owned Arm said it is aiming for a US IPO this year, as expectations fade that the British chipmaker could be heading for a London-listing. This is a blow to the UK government and the City of London post Brexit as Arm pins its hopes on New York, where some of the world’s biggest tech companies have floated including Apple and Tesla.
"While the FTSE 100 enjoyed relative resilience last year partly because of its lack of technology giants, allowing it to avoid the ‘tech-wreck’, this has also long been a criticism of the UK blue chip index which has struggled to attract key behemoths in the sector. There have also been some high profile disasters in UK tech with Deliveroo’s IPO flop and THG’s share price slide.
"Arm’s abandonment of London is another kick in the teeth for the Square Mile’s attractiveness among international investors as a go-to destination for technology giants.”
Rightmove (RMV.L) and Pearson (PSON.L) were down 1.63% and 4.19% respectively as the property website and the educational publisher failed to convince investors despite positive increases in profits at both.
Meanwhile, Brent crude (BZ=F) bounced back and was trading at around $85/barrel. Oil prices were on track to post gains of nearly 2% for the week as a rebound in China's factory activity offset growing concerns about rising US crude stocks and potential rate hikes in Europe.
In Asia, China's service sector sped up sharply in February, according to final survey data on Friday, as business continued to rebound after the rollback of anti-COVID measures.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 (^N225) rose 1.56% to 27,927 points, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) in Hong Kong gained 0.86% to 20,606. The Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) also edged higher, rising 0.54% to 3,328 points.
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