Wall Street makes a cautious start to the week. Oil prices stabilise

  • Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon has called for a second independence referendum, bringing UK politics into spotlight. Sterling was up 0.4 per cent against the dollar at $1.2222 and it was 0.7 per cent firmer against the euro at €1.1472. The dollar was up 0.1 per cent against the yen at Ұ114.87. The single currency was 0.2 per cent weaker against the US currency at $1.0654. The dollar index, a measure of the greenback’s performance against a basket of currencies, was up 0.1 per cent at 101.37.
  • Ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy meeting on March 14-15 when interest rates are expected to be raised by a quarter-point, the yield on the 2-year US Treasury note, which is particularly sensitive to changes in expectations for the Fed’s monetary-policy, was up 3 basis points at 1.38 per cent, the highest since mid-2009. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note added 5 basis points to 2.62 per cent, the highest level in more than two years. The Dutch 10-year government bond yield was down 2 basis points at 0.73 per cent ahead of general elections on Wednesday. Polls show that Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s People’s Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) is narrowly leading Geert Wilders’ far-right Party for Freedom (PVV).
  • The OPEC cartel-led agreement to cut oil production during the first half of this year to drain the global oil glut has helped the US oil shale industry to bounce back from the downturn of 2014-2016. The US Energy Information Administration said on Monday that it expects an increase in domestic shale-oil production to nearly 5 million barrels a day from April. A surge in US production is most likely to derail OPEC’s efforts to rebalance the oil market. Prices stabilised on Monday. Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, settled 0.1 per cent higher at 51.42 dollars per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate, the US oil marker, was down less than 0.1 per cent at 48.47 dollars a barrel.
  • Wall Street made a cautious start to the week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 0.1 per cent to 20,881.48. The broader S&P 500 index was up less than 0.1 per cent at 2,373.47. Meanwhile, the technology-focused Nasdaq Composite added 0.2 per cent to finish at 5,875.78.
  • In Europe, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index gained 0.4 per cent to finish at 374.64. The UK’s FTSE 100 added 0.3 per cent to close at 7,367.08. The Xetra DAX in Frankfurt inched up 0.2 per cent to 11,990.03.
  • In Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 index slipped 0.3 per cent to 5,757.30. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1.1 per cent to 23,829.67. China’s Shanghai Composite closed 0.8 per cent higher at 3,237.02. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1 per cent to finish at 2,117.59 as investors appeared to welcome President Park Geun-hye’s impeachment.

WPJ

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