Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Global markets: Stocks up, oil slides
NEW YORK - A measure of stocks across major markets globally inched up to a record high on Tuesday, lifted by gains in Europe amid corporate and economic strength, while crude futures tumbled as prices breached key technical levels.
A broad index of European stocks rose to its highest since August 2015, boosted by company earnings and as a survey of factory activity in the euro zone jumped to its highest since April 2011. French blue chips hit their highest in nearly a decade and Germany's DAX set a record high.
Robust results have helped lift share prices across the globe this year, with major U.S. indexes at or near record levels. First-quarter profits of companies on the benchmark S&P 500 index are expected to have risen 13.9 percent, the strongest rise since 2011, according to Thomson Reuters data.
Financial markets in Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea are closed on Wednesday for public holidays.
BP shares rose 1.6 percent after the oil major's first-quarter profit tripled.
Apple shares fell 1.2 percent to $145.75 in extended trading after the iPhone maker reported a surprise fall in iPhone sales.
"The economy is doing better within Europe, but these also tend to be global companies," said Isabelle Mateos y Lago, chief multi-asset strategist at BlackRock.
"The main reason why we are optimistic is because European companies are extremely well plugged in to benefit from the global reflation story, from China and US growth picking up."
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 36.43 points, or 0.17 percent, to 20,949.89, the S&P 500 gained 2.84 points, or 0.12 percent, to 2,391.17 and the Nasdaq Composite added 3.76 points, or 0.06 percent, to 6,095.37.
The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.75 percent to end at a near 21-month high and MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.27 percent to an all-time high.
The US dollar hit a six-week high of 112.30 Japanese yen as traders anticipated that despite some recent weak data the Federal Reserve would prepare markets for an interest rate increase in June in its statement following a policy meeting this week.
The yen weakened 0.13 percent against the greenback to 111.99 per dollar.
The Fed is expected to hold interest rates steady after its two-day meeting that began Tuesday, as it pauses to examine more economic data, but may hint it is on track for an increase in June.
Traders do not anticipate a hike on Wednesday but are currently forecasting a 65.2 percent chance of a 25-basis-point hike at the Fed's June meeting, according to Thomson Reuters data.
US benchmark 10-year Treasury notes were last up 11/32 in price to yield 2.2874 percent, from 2.327 percent late on Monday, ahead of the Fed statement on Wednesday.
WTI plunged on reports of rising output in the United States and extended losses on technical selling, while Brent crude oil prices fell to the lowest in over five months, erasing all the gains since OPEC agreed to cut production at the end of November.
US crude futures pared losses after data showed a bigger-than-expected inventory draw.
US crude fell 1.84 percent to $47.94 per barrel and Brent was last at $50.77, down 1.46 percent on the day.
Gold touched a three-week low of $1,251.37 an ounce as demand for the safe-haven asset waned. Spot gold was little changed at $1,256.36 an ounce.