[MM_Member_Data name=’firstName’],

Amazon’s $13.4 billion deal for Whole Foods sent grocery stores, big retailers, and food makers and distributors plunging Friday. Energy companies rose while other stocks were little changed.

Global Economy – European stocks are up  ahead of Sunday’s second round of elections in France that are expected to hand President Macron an overwhelming legislative majority.

Japanese stocks settled higher as strength in exporter companies led the overall market higher on improved earnings prospects for exporters after USD/JPY rose to a 2-week high when the BOJ left monetary policy unchanged.

As expected, the BOJ decided by a 7-2 vote to keep a negative interest rate of -0.1% to the balances in current accounts held by financial institutions at the central bank and the BOJ will continue to purchase Japanese government bonds so that 10-year JGB yields remain at around 0%.

The BOJ’s overall assessment of the economy remained unchanged from the last meeting, saying it was “turning toward a moderate expansion.”

The Chinese yuan fell to a 2-week low against the dollar after the PBOC injected a net 250 billion yuan through reverse-repurchase agreements the most in 5 months, as it boosts the supply of cash in the financial system to alleviate a cash squeeze caused by regulatory checks on banks.

As expected, the Bank of Russia cut its key interest rate by -25 bp to 9.00% from 9.25%.