U.S. stock futures edged lower on Friday, European shares were steady and Asia equities rose at the end of a week when sentiment was bolstered by a more dovish tone from the Federal Reserve and hopes for a breakthrough on trade. The dollar slipped and Treasuries advanced.
Contracts on the S&P and Nasdaq indexes pointed to a slightly softer open in New York, while the Stoxx Europe 600 Index battled to hold on to an early gain. In Asia, shares rose in Shanghai, Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong. The greenback was set for a fourth week of losses after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell underscored the message of patience with further interest-rate hikes, while saying the central bank will keep shrinking its balance sheet. European debt tracked Treasuries higher. The pound briefly jumped on reports that Brexit may be delayed.
Equities are set for big gains this week amid signs of progress between the world’s two biggest economies on trade and dovish commentary from the Fed. Still, worries remain about economic growth and earnings prospects, while there’s also uncertainty as the U.S. partial government shutdown threatens to extend into a fourth week.
Chinese Vice Premier Liu He is set to visit Washington on Jan. 30 and 31 for further trade talks. China’s yuan, which slumped last year as trade tensions worsened, is heading for its best week since 2005 — back when the country dropped a fixed peg to the dollar.