Crude Oil Prices Move Sharply Lower Ahead of Supply Data

Investing.com - Crude oil prices moved sharply lower on Wednesday, weighed by the U.S. dollar's recent rebound and as traders grew more cautious ahead of this week's U.S. supply data.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude April contract was down 70 cents or about 1.13% at $61.09 a barrel by 03:30 a.m. ET (07:30 GMT), the lowest since February 15.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for April delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London declined 73 cents or about 1.09% to $64.55 a barrel, the lowest since February 16.

The U.S. contract was boosted on Tuesday a result of reduced flows from Canada's Keystone pipeline, which has been operating below capacity since late last year due to a leak.

Oil prices were also supported by the risk of supply disruptions in the Middle East after Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just its allies in the Middle East, following border incidents in Syria.

But traders grew more cautious ahead of this week's U.S. inventories reports. The American Petroleum Institute was set to publish its weekly report on U.S. oil supplies later Wednesday, while official data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration was expected on Thursday.

The reports come out one day later than usual due to Monday's President's Day holiday.

Fears that rising U.S. output could dampen global efforts to rid the market of excess supplies have systematically limited oil prices' gains recently.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, agreed in December to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures retreated 0.72% to $1.733 a gallon, while natural gas futures declined 0.84% to $2.593 per million British thermal units.

German Private Sector Remains Strong Despite Easing in February

Investing.com - Private sector output in Germany eased slightly in February, but maintained strong growth momentum, preliminary data showed on Wednesday.

Market research group Markit said that its Flash German Composite Output Index, which measures the combined output of both the manufacturing and service sectors registered a reading of 57.4 in February, down from January's 81-month high of 59.0. It missed forecasts for 58.5.

Nevertheless, the latest reading was still among the highest seen since early-2011 and reflected robust, albeit slower, growth across both the manufacturing and service sectors.

The flash manufacturing purchasing managers’ index declined to 60.3 from a final reading of 61.1 in January. Analysts had expected the index to slip to 60.6.

Factory output growth stayed strong but eased to a four-month low, the pace of expansion moderating further from December’s recent peak.

Service sector business activity likewise showed a slower rate of growth than that seen during the month before, when it had reached the highest since March 2011.

The preliminary German services purchasing managers’ index fell to 55.3 this month from January's near seven-year high of 57.3. That was below expectations for a reading of 56.9.

On the index, a reading above 50.0 indicates industry expansion, below indicates contraction.

Higher new orders were recorded for the thirty-eighth month running in February, a new record for the series which stretches back more than two decades.

Commenting on the report, Phil Smith, Principal Economist at Markit, said, “The performance so far in the first quarter remains better than that seen in final three months of 2017, which saw GDP rise 0.6%. IHS Markit is currently forecasting an improved outturn of 0.9% in quarter one."

Dollar at 1-Week Highs before Fed Minutes

Investing.com - The dollar edged up to one-week highs against a currency basket on Wednesday, as investors awaited the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting for fresh indications on the future pace of interest rate hikes.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a basket of six major currencies, was up 0.12% at 89.75 by 03:24 AM ET (08:24 AM GMT).

The index has climbed higher after it sank to a low of 88.15 on Friday, the weakest since December 2014.

The Fed was to release the minutes of its January meeting later on Wednesday and a hawkish tone could reinforce expectations for a faster pace of monetary tightening this year and boost the dollar.

The dollar has weakened in recent months as expectations for a faster pace of interest rates by the Fed have been offset by a range of bearish concerns.

Worries that large corporate tax cuts and increased government spending will negatively impact the U.S. fiscal deficit, which is projected to balloon to near $1 trillion in 2019 have pressured the currency.

The tax cuts and spending plans could backfire by overheating an already strong economy and causing an unwanted pick-up in inflation.

Expectations for a faster rate of monetary tightening outside the U.S., which would lessen the divergence between the Fed and other central banks, have also eroded the dollar’s relative yield attraction for investors.

The dollar was higher against the yen, with USD/JPY rising 0.31% to 107.03, extending its bounce from Friday’s 15-month lows of 105.55

The euro was a touch lower, with EUR/USD down 0.15% to 1.2319, retreating further from Friday’s three year high of 1.2554.

In the euro zone, data showed that French private sector growth slowed, but remained solid in February.

Sterling was also lower, with GBP/USD shedding 0.17% to trade at 1.3972 ahead of the latest UK jobs report later in the trading day.

Traders were looking to figures on wage growth that could help underline expectations for a rate hike by the Bank of England in May.

French Private Sector Slows, Remains Solid in February: PMI

Investing.com - French private sector activity slowed but remained solid in February, according to survey data released on Wednesday.

The preliminary reading of the Markit services purchasing managers’ index came in at 57.9 this month from 59.2 in January.

Economists had forecast a reading of 59.1.

The manufacturing PMI dropped to 56.1, compared to expectations for 58.1 and from 58.4 a month earlier.

The composite output index, which measures the combined output of both the manufacturing and service sectors ticked down to 57.8 from 59.6, against expectations for 59.4.

A reading above 50.0 on the index indicates industry expansion, below indicates contraction.

Taiwan stocks higher at close of trade; Taiwan Weighted up 2.81%

Investing.com – Taiwan stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Optoelectronic, Plastic and Oil, Gas&Electricity sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Taiwan, the Taiwan Weighted added 2.81%.

The best performers of the session on the Taiwan Weighted were Global Unichip Corp (TW:3443), which rose 10.00% or 27.00 points to trade at 297.00 at the close. Meanwhile, Leadtek Research Inc (TW:2465) added 10.00% or 2.05 points to end at 22.55 and Li Cheng Enterprise Co Ltd (TW:4426) was up 9.99% or 4.35 points to 47.90 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Lung Hwa Electronics Co Ltd (TW:2424), which fell 9.88% or 3.65 points to trade at 33.30 at the close. Cyberlink Co (TW:5203) declined 3.69% or 2.40 points to end at 62.60 and Chia Ta World Co Ltd (TW:2033) was down 3.01% or 0.55 points to 17.70.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Taiwan Stock Exchange by 849 to 36 and 26 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for April delivery was down 0.95% or 0.59 to $61.20 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in April fell 0.70% or 0.46 to hit $64.79 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 0.09% or 1.20 to trade at $1330.00 a troy ounce.

USD/TWD was up 0.08% to 29.222, while TWD/CNY fell 0.09% to 0.2171.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.12% at 89.75.

Asian Stocks Higher; Hang Seng Outperforms

Investing.com - Asian stocks were led higher by Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index in Wednesday afternoon trading session.

The Dow and the S&P 500 snapped their six-session winning streak overnight as Walmart (NYSE:WMT) reported slowing online sales growth and saw its shares plunge 10.18%, its biggest drop in 30 years. The dollar’s momentum continued as yields on U.S. treasury debt rose to four-year high.

The Nikkei opened lower but recovered from its early slip and gained 0.32% at the close. The yen continued its retreat from recent highs thanks to higher U.S. treasury yields and was cited as supportive for Japanese equities.

Meanwhile, mainland Chinese markets remained closed for Lunar New Year holiday, while the Hang Seng Index opened higher in the morning and extended its gain in the afternoon, trading 1.14% higher by 1:20am ET.

In Korea, Lotte Holdings made headlines as its head Shin Dong-bin has reportedly offered to quit as chairman at its Japan-based holding firm, following his arrest for bribery earlier this month.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 saw very limited volatility and closed 0.05% higher, but index heavyweight BHP Billiton fell 4.8% as investors responded to the softer tone set in London market overnight following the release of their results report. The Aussie eased 0.23% against the dollar at 0.7865 after the release of a weaker-than-expected construction data. Q4 wage data on the other hand reported 0.6% QoQ instead of the anticipated 0.5%.

News flow in Asia morning remained light otherwise, as investors await minutes from the most recent meetings of the Federal Reserve, which are due later today.

Gold Prices Remain Under Pressured By Stronger Dollar

Investing.com - Gold prices were pressured by a stronger dollar and a rising interest rate in Asian afternoon Wednesday.

Gold futures for April delivery on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange fell by $2.9, or 0.22%, to $1,328.30 a troy ounce by 12:15am ET.

Benefited from higher treasury yields, the US dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies rose to a week’s high of 89.79, up 0.17% in Wednesday’s mid-day in Asia.

The minutes of Federal Open Market Committee January meeting that are due Wednesday is expected to gather some attention as it is set to explain statement on ‘further gradual’ hikes and may bring volatility to the market. 

In a rising interest rate environment, investor appetite for gold weakens as the opportunity cost of holding the precious metal increases relative to interest-bearing assets such as bonds.

The forex market is also focused on the expected supply of USD 250 billion U.S. dollar worth of new debt this week, as such auction would be a key indicator of investors’ appetite for U.S. assets.

Asian equities traded slightly higher following a decline in U.S. stocks overnight. Volatility was limited however as market range bound in early trade.

Dollar Continues To Gain Ground; Aussie Eases Following Weak Construction Data

Investing.com - Developments in the U.S. were in the focus today as Asian market was rather quiet except the upbeat Australian data.

Benefited from higher treasury yields, the US dollar index that tracks the greenback against a basket of currencies rose to a week’s high of 89.72, up 0.09% at 10pm ET.

The minutes of Federal Open Market Committee January meeting that are due Wednesday should seize attention as it is set to explain statement on ‘further gradual’ hikes and may bring volatility to the market. 

This year may see more interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve than expected as U.S. treasury debt reached its four-year peak, and the yields on the debt kept the dollar’s momentum.

The debt surged as last year's $1.5 trillion tax overhaul signed by President Donald Trump resulted in higher deficit and the budget deal will see $300 billion government spending.

USD/JPY was trading at 107.76 mid-morning, up 0.41%. The pair has been quoted at around 107 recently from around 112 at the end of 2017, a decline initiated by the suggestion of a weaker dollar by U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in January.

Japan’s top currency diplomat Masatsugu Asakawa made a few remarks on the yen, saying the yen's recent surge was excessive, and its movement was one-sided.

In Australia, the Aussie eased 0.23% against the dollar at 0.7865 after the release of a weaker-than-expected construction data released by the Australia Bureau Statistics (ABS). Q4 Wage data on the other hand reported 0.6% quarter-on-quarter instead of the anticipated 0.5%.

Elsewhere, USD/CNY stood at 6.3453, up 0.06%. The Chinese market remains offline until Thursday.

Asian Stocks Trade Flat As U.S. Shares Retreat, Treasury Yields Rise

Investing.com - Asian equities traded slightly higher following a decline in U.S. stocks overnight. Volatility was limited however as market range bound in early trade.

The Dow and the S&P 500 snapped their six-session winning streak as Walmart (NYSE:WMT) reported slowing online sales growth and saw its shares plunge 10.18%, its biggest drop in 30 years. The dollar’s momentum continued as yields on U.S. treasury debt rose to four-year high.

The Nikkei opened lower but recouped its losses and was trading 0.47% higher by 9:15 pm ET. The yen continued its retreat from recent highs and was cited as supportive for Japanese equities.

Meanwhile, mainland Chinese markets remained closed for Lunar New Year holiday, while the Hang Seng Index opened higher and gained 0.73% in early trade.

In Korea, Lotte Holdings made headlines as its head Shin Dong-bin has reportedly offered to quit as chairman at its Japan-based holding firm, following his arrest for bribery earlier this month.

Elsewhere, the S&P/ASX 200 also saw very limited volatility, but index heavyweight BHP Billiton fell 4.7% as investors responded to the softer tone set in London market overnight following the release of their results report.

News flow in Asia morning was light otherwise, as investors await minutes from the most recent meetings of the Federal Reserve, which are due later today.

Mexico stocks lower at close of trade; S&P/BMV IPC down 0.50%

Investing.com – Mexico stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Consumer Goods&Services, Financial Services and Healthcare sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Mexico, the S&P/BMV IPC fell 0.50%.

The best performers of the session on the S&P/BMV IPC were VOLARIS A (MX:VOLARA), which rose 5.06% or 0.81 points to trade at 16.83 at the close. Meanwhile, Grupo Aeroportuario Del CentroNorte (MX:OMAB) added 2.57% or 2.410 points to end at 96.070 and Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico SAB De CV Class B (MX:GAPB) was up 2.40% or 4.44 points to 189.15 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Grupo Elektra , S.A.B. De C.V. (MX:ELEKTRA), which fell 4.01% or 26.34 points to trade at 630.40 at the close. Cemex SAB de CV (MX:CMXCPO) declined 2.73% or 0.380 points to end at 13.550 and Genomma Lab Internacional SAB De CV (MX:LABB) was down 2.17% or 0.440 points to 19.850.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Mexico Stock Exchange by 168 to 134 and 19 ended unchanged.

Shares in Cemex SAB de CV (MX:CMXCPO) fell to 52-week lows; losing 2.73% or 0.380 to 13.550. Shares in Genomma Lab Internacional SAB De CV (MX:LABB) fell to 52-week lows; losing 2.17% or 0.440 to 19.850.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 1.84% or 25.00 to $1331.20 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.02% or 0.01 to hit $61.56 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract rose 0.05% or 0.03 to trade at $65.07 a barrel.

USD/MXN was up 0.00% to 18.7094, while EUR/MXN rose 0.01% to 23.0818.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.63% at 89.64.

Peru stocks lower at close of trade; S&P Lima General down 0.38%

Investing.com – Peru stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the S&P Lima Juniors, Banking&Financials and Mining sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Lima, the S&P Lima General declined 0.38%.

The best performers of the session on the S&P Lima General were Grana Y Monter (LM:GRA), which rose 8.74% or 0.160 points to trade at 1.990 at the close. Meanwhile, Sider (LM:SID) added 4.35% or 0.020 points to end at 0.480 and Volcan Minera (LM:VOL_pb) was up 1.70% or 0.020 points to 1.200 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Sociedad Minera el Brocal SAA (LM:BRO), which fell 14.75% or 1.800 points to trade at 10.400 at the close. PPX Mining Corp (LM:PPX) unchanged 4.76% or 0.00 points to end at 0.06 and Trevali Mining (LM:TV) was down 3.94% or 0.050 points to 1.220.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Lima Stock Exchange by 18 to 6 and 15 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for April delivery was up 0.11% or 0.07 to $61.62 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in April fell 0.85% or 0.56 to hit $65.11 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 1.81% or 24.50 to trade at $1331.70 a troy ounce.

USD/PEN was up 0.06% to 3.2525, while EUR/PEN fell 0.41% to 4.0167.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.63% at 89.64.

U.S. stocks lower at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 1.01%

Investing.com – U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Telecoms, Utilities and Consumer Goods sectors led shares lower.

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.01%, while the S&P 500 index lost 0.58%, and the NASDAQ Composite index fell 0.07%.

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), which rose 1.67% or 0.76 points to trade at 46.32 at the close. Meanwhile, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) added 0.78% or 0.72 points to end at 92.72 and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP) was up 0.41% or 0.40 points to 97.19 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT), which fell 10.18% or 10.67 points to trade at 94.11 at the close. Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ) declined 2.45% or 1.23 points to end at 48.92 and Merck&Company Inc (NYSE:MRK) was down 2.33% or 1.31 points to 54.98.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Noble Energy Inc (NYSE:NBL) which rose 10.81% to 29.12, Mosaic Company (NYSE:MOS) which was up 5.23% to settle at 26.76 and Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc (NYSE:CMG) which gained 3.91% to close at 317.57.

The worst performers were Wal-Mart Stores Inc (NYSE:WMT) which was down 10.18% to 94.11 in late trade, Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC) which lost 5.17% to settle at 94.67 and Gap Inc (NYSE:GPS) which was down 4.99% to 31.61 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Fogo De Chao Inc (NASDAQ:FOGO) which rose 23.90% to 15.55, Voyager Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:VYGR) which was up 22.21% to settle at 23.66 and Orexigen Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:OREX) which gained 18.07% to close at 0.980.

The worst performers were MiMedx Group Inc (NASDAQ:MDXG) which was down 39.56% to 8.74 in late trade, Ubiquiti Networks Inc (NASDAQ:UBNT) which lost 25.34% to settle at 55.28 and Adamas Pharma (NASDAQ:ADMS) which was down 21.85% to 26.39 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 2106 to 988 and 114 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1679 fell and 864 advanced, while 114 ended unchanged.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was up 5.65% to 20.56.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 1.77% or 24.00 to $1332.20 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.18% or 0.11 to hit $61.66 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract fell 0.78% or 0.51 to trade at $65.16 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.57% to 1.2336, while USD/JPY rose 0.64% to 107.27.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.63% at 89.64.

Colombia stocks lower at close of trade; COLCAP down 0.33%

Investing.com – Colombia stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Financials, Industrials and Investment sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Colombia, the COLCAP declined 0.33%.

The best performers of the session on the COLCAP were Cemex Latam Holdings SA (CN:CLH), which rose 1.40% or 140.0 points to trade at 10160.0 at the close. Meanwhile, Grupo de Inversiones Suramericana SA (CN:SIS) added 0.81% or 320.0 points to end at 39820.0 and Empresa de Energia de Bogota SA ESP (CN:EEB) was up 0.74% or 15.0 points to 2040.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Etb (CN:ETB), which fell 2.44% or 11.0 points to trade at 440.0 at the close. Celsia SA (CN:CEL) declined 2.03% or 95.0 points to end at 4595.0 and Cementos Argos Pf (CN:CCB_p) was down 1.60% or 140.0 points to 8600.0.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Colombia Stock Exchange by 1 to 0.

Shares in Etb (CN:ETB) fell to 52-week lows; losing 2.44% or 11.0 to 440.0. Shares in Cementos Argos Pf (CN:CCB_p) fell to 52-week lows; falling 1.60% or 140.0 to 8600.0.

US coffee C for May delivery was down 0.42% or 0.50 to $119.95 . Elsewhere in commodities trading, US cocoa for delivery in May rose 1.30% or 27.50 to hit $2143.00 , while the April Gold Futures contract fell 1.67% or 22.60 to trade at $1333.60 a troy ounce.

USD/COP was up 1.00% to 2864.03, while BRL/COP rose 0.32% to 878.83.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.62% at 89.63.

France stocks higher at close of trade; CAC 40 up 0.64%

Investing.com – France stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Oil&Gas, Industrials and Technology sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Paris, the CAC 40 added 0.64%, while the SBF 120 index gained 0.61%.

The best performers of the session on the CAC 40 were Compagnie de Saint Gobain SA (PA:SGOB), which rose 2.95% or 1.27 points to trade at 44.26 at the close. Meanwhile, STMicroelectronics (PA:STM) added 2.53% or 0.455 points to end at 18.455 and Airbus Group SE (PA:AIR) was up 2.21% or 2.10 points to 96.99 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Carrefour SA (PA:CARR), which fell 1.86% or 0.37 points to trade at 19.25 at the close. Cap Gemini SA (PA:CAPP) declined 1.29% or 1.35 points to end at 103.60 and Renault SA (PA:RENA) was down 1.13% or 0.99 points to 86.90.

The top performers on the SBF 120 were Edenred (PA:EDEN) which rose 8.24% to 27.85, Korian Medica SA (PA:KORI) which was up 5.78% to settle at 26.360 and Sopra Steria Group SA (PA:SOPR) which gained 4.67% to close at 156.80.

The worst performers were Eramet (PA:ERMT) which was down 5.19% to 113.30 in late trade, Electricite de France SA (PA:EDF) which lost 3.34% to settle at 10.43 and Carrefour SA (PA:CARR) which was down 1.86% to 19.25 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Paris Stock Exchange by 314 to 270 and 97 ended unchanged.

Shares in Airbus Group SE (PA:AIR) rose to all time highs; up 2.21% or 2.10 to 96.99. Shares in Edenred (PA:EDEN) rose to all time highs; rising 8.24% or 2.12 to 27.85.

The CAC 40 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of CAC 40 options, was down 2.20% to 17.31.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 1.64% or 22.20 to $1334.00 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.91% or 0.56 to hit $62.11 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract fell 0.14% or 0.09 to trade at $65.58 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.43% to 1.2354, while EUR/GBP fell 0.54% to 0.8813.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.47% at 89.50.

Spain stocks higher at close of trade; IBEX 35 up 0.91%

Investing.com – Spain stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Consumer Goods, Building&Construction and Financial Services&Real Estate sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Madrid, the IBEX 35 rose 0.91%.

The best performers of the session on the IBEX 35 were Indra A (MC:IDR), which rose 4.10% or 0.450 points to trade at 11.430 at the close. Meanwhile, Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy SA (MC:GAM) added 3.30% or 0.410 points to end at 12.835 and Acerinox (MC:ACX) was up 2.90% or 0.340 points to 12.050 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Viscofan (MC:VIS), which fell 1.85% or 1.000 points to trade at 53.100 at the close. Red Electrica Corporacion SA (MC:REE) declined 0.90% or 0.145 points to end at 15.985 and Enagas (MC:ENAG) was down 0.73% or 0.150 points to 20.510.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Madrid Stock Exchange by 110 to 71 and 14 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 1.63% or 22.10 to $1334.10 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.93% or 0.57 to hit $62.12 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract fell 0.12% or 0.08 to trade at $65.59 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.43% to 1.2354, while EUR/GBP fell 0.55% to 0.8812.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.47% at 89.50.

Netherlands stocks higher at close of trade; AEX up 0.76%

Investing.com – Netherlands stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Technology, Industrials and Healthcare sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Amsterdam, the AEX added 0.76%.

The best performers of the session on the AEX were ASML Holding NV (AS:ASML), which rose 3.24% or 5.00 points to trade at 159.25 at the close. Meanwhile, Koninklijke Boskalis Westminster NV (AS:BOSN) added 2.13% or 0.65 points to end at 31.19 and Aegon NV (AS:AEGN) was up 2.00% or 0.110 points to 5.620 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Altice NV (AS:ATCA), which fell 1.38% or 0.11 points to trade at 7.84 at the close. Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV (AS:AD) declined 0.86% or 0.154 points to end at 17.650 and Heineken (AS:HEIN) was down 0.42% or 0.36 points to 85.00.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by 70 to 41 and 15 ended unchanged.

The AEX Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of AEX options, was down 2.04% to 15.82.

Crude oil for April delivery was up 0.94% or 0.58 to $62.13 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in April fell 0.12% or 0.08 to hit $65.59 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 1.63% or 22.10 to trade at $1334.10 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was down 0.42% to 1.2355, while EUR/GBP fell 0.54% to 0.8813.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.46% at 89.49.

Nigeria stocks lower at close of trade; NSE 30 down 0.03%

Investing.com – Nigeria stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Oil&Gas, Banking and Insurance sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Lagos, the NSE 30 declined 0.03%.

The best performers of the session on the NSE 30 were Pz Cussons LG (LAGOS:PZ), which rose 5.00% or 1.15 points to trade at 24.15 at the close. Meanwhile, Nestle Nig (LAGOS:NESTLE) added 2.85% or 38.20 points to end at 1380.00 and Dangote Flour Mills PLC (LAGOS:DANGFLOUR) was up 0.63% or 0.10 points to 16.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Diamond Bank (LAGOS:DIAMONB), which fell 8.52% or 0.230 points to trade at 2.470 at the close. Fbn Holdings (LAGOS:FBNH) declined 7.26% or 0.850 points to end at 10.850 and Total Nig (LAGOS:TOTAL) was down 4.98% or 11.40 points to 218.00.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Lagos by 70 to 24 and 11 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for April delivery was up 1.22% or 0.75 to $62.30 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in April rose 0.05% or 0.03 to hit $65.70 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 1.56% or 21.10 to trade at $1335.10 a troy ounce.

EUR/NGN was down 0.61% to 445.150, while USD/NGN unchanged 0.00% to 361.000.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.48% at 89.51.

Russia stocks higher at close of trade; MOEX Russia up 0.67%

Investing.com – Russia stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Telecoms, Oil&Gas and Manufacturing sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Moscow, the MOEX Russia gained 0.67%.

The best performers of the session on the MOEX Russia were Magnit (MCX:MGNT), which rose 7.93% or 337.0 points to trade at 4588.0 at the close. Meanwhile, NMTP (MCX:NMTP) added 3.47% or 0.2850 points to end at 8.5100 and Tatneft OAO Pref (MCX:TATN_p) was up 3.13% or 12.60 points to 414.80 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were SG mechel (MCX:MTLR), which fell 1.94% or 2.85 points to trade at 143.85 at the close. AFK Sistema (MCX:AFKS) declined 1.69% or 0.210 points to end at 12.190 and Polymetal International PLC (MCX:POLY) was down 1.47% or 9.30 points to 621.40.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Moscow Stock Exchange by 115 to 95 and 21 ended unchanged.

The Russian VIX, which measures the implied volatility of MOEX Russia options, was down 5.21% to 20.940.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 1.72% or 23.30 to $1332.90 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 1.10% or 0.68 to hit $62.23 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract fell 0.09% or 0.06 to trade at $65.61 a barrel.

USD/RUB was up 0.02% to 56.4845, while EUR/RUB fell 0.49% to 69.7187.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.55% at 89.57.

Norway stocks higher at close of trade; Oslo OBX up 0.34%

Investing.com – Norway stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Auto&components, Diversified Financials and Capital Goods sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Oslo, the Oslo OBX added 0.34%.

The best performers of the session on the Oslo OBX were BW LPG Ltd (OL:BWLPG), which rose 5.55% or 1.84 points to trade at 35.00 at the close. Meanwhile, Petroleum Geo - Services ASA (OL:PGS) added 3.26% or 0.73 points to end at 23.14 and Golden Ocean Group Ltd (OL:GOGLT) was up 2.79% or 2.00 points to 73.80 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Grieg Seafood (OL:GSFO), which fell 3.78% or 2.65 points to trade at 67.40 at the close. Questerre Energy Corporation (OL:QEC) declined 2.49% or 0.14 points to end at 5.48 and Schibsted ASA A (OL:SBSTA) was down 2.49% or 5.5 points to 215.2.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Oslo Stock Exchange by 93 to 80 and 26 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for April delivery was up 1.09% or 0.67 to $62.22 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in April fell 0.09% or 0.06 to hit $65.61 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 1.71% or 23.20 to trade at $1333.00 a troy ounce.

EUR/NOK was up 0.23% to 9.6743, while USD/NOK rose 0.75% to 7.8385.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.54% at 89.56.

Italy stocks higher at close of trade; Investing.com Italy 40 up 0.48%

Investing.com – Italy stocks were higher after the close on Tuesday, as gains in the Telecoms, Technology and Chemicals sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Milan, the Investing.com Italy 40 gained 0.48%.

The best performers of the session on the Investing.com Italy 40 were Buzzi Unicem (MI:BZU), which rose 3.66% or 0.77 points to trade at 21.82 at the close. Meanwhile, Telecom Italia (MI:TLIT) added 3.01% or 0.0210 points to end at 0.7186 and STMicroelectronics (MI:STM) was up 2.64% or 0.475 points to 18.465 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Recordati (MI:RECI), which fell 2.15% or 0.66 points to trade at 30.02 at the close. Pirelli&C SPA (MI:PIRC) declined 1.41% or 0.11 points to end at 7.42 and Italgas SpA (MI:IG) was down 1.09% or 0.048 points to 4.360.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Milan Stock Exchange by 172 to 167 and 30 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for April delivery was up 1.06% or 0.65 to $62.20 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in April fell 0.14% or 0.09 to hit $65.58 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 1.62% or 22.00 to trade at $1334.20 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was down 0.47% to 1.2349, while EUR/GBP fell 0.61% to 0.8807.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.49% at 89.52.

Greece stocks lower at close of trade; Athens General Composite down 0.95%

Investing.com – Greece stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Financials, Travel and Basic Resources sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Athens, the Athens General Composite declined 0.95%.

The best performers of the session on the Athens General Composite were Lamda Develop (AT:LMDr), which rose 5.38% or 0.360 points to trade at 7.050 at the close. Meanwhile, J.&P. Avax (AT:AVAr) added 4.65% or 0.041 points to end at 0.922 and Quest Holdings (AT:IQTr) was up 3.26% or 0.350 points to 11.100 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Attica Bank SA (AT:BOAr), which fell 5.20% or 0.002 points to trade at 0.031 at the close. Centric Hold (AT:DESr) declined 4.62% or 0.008 points to end at 0.165 and Marfin Invest (AT:MRFr) was down 3.31% or 0.005 points to 0.146.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Athens Stock Exchange by 78 to 42 and 10 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 1.31% or 17.80 to $1338.40 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.11% or 0.07 to hit $61.62 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract fell 1.05% or 0.69 to trade at $64.98 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.57% to 1.2336, while EUR/GBP fell 0.52% to 0.8815.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.57% at 89.59.

Turkey stocks lower at close of trade; BIST 100 down 2.11%

Investing.com – Turkey stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Tourism, Telecoms and Sports sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Istanbul, the BIST 100 declined 2.11% to hit a new 1-month low.

The best performers of the session on the BIST 100 were Tesco Kipa Kitle Pazarlama Ticaret Lojistik ve Gida Sanayi AS (IS:KIPA), which rose 2.96% or 0.120 points to trade at 4.180 at the close. Meanwhile, Anadolu Efes Biracilik ve Malt Sanayi AS (IS:AEFES) added 1.78% or 0.46 points to end at 26.36 and Ulker Biskuvi Sanayi AS (IS:ULKER) was up 0.88% or 0.20 points to 22.80 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Koza Altin Isletmeleri AS (IS:KOZAL), which fell 9.30% or 3.34 points to trade at 32.56 at the close. Koza Anadolu Metal Madencilik Isletmeleri AS (IS:KOZAA) declined 7.14% or 0.410 points to end at 5.330 and Turcas Petrol AS (IS:TRCAS) was down 6.56% or 0.160 points to 2.280.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Istanbul Stock Exchange by 323 to 58 and 26 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 1.22% or 16.50 to $1339.70 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in April rose 0.29% or 0.18 to hit $61.73 a barrel, while the April Brent oil contract fell 0.85% or 0.56 to trade at $65.11 a barrel.

USD/TRY was up 1.22% to 3.8045, while EUR/TRY rose 0.70% to 4.6972.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.54% at 89.56.

Israel stocks lower at close of trade; TA 35 down 0.61%

Investing.com – Israel stocks were lower after the close on Tuesday, as losses in the Oil&Gas, Biomed and Real Estate sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Tel Aviv, the TA 35 fell 0.61%.

The best performers of the session on the TA 35 were Bezeq Israeli Telecommunication Corp Ltd (TA:BEZQ), which rose 1.31% or 6.8 points to trade at 524.0 at the close. Meanwhile, ICL Israel Chemicals Ltd (TA:ICL) added 1.16% or 17 points to end at 1481 and Israel Corp (TA:ILCO) was up 1.10% or 700 points to 64300 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Isramco Negev 2 LP (TA:ISRAp), which fell 2.85% or 1.3 points to trade at 44.3 at the close. Frutarom Industries Ltd (TA:FRUT) declined 2.68% or 860 points to end at 31240 and Sodastream International Ltd (TA:SODA) was down 2.35% or 680.0 points to 28260.0.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 235 to 141 and 45 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for April delivery was up 0.36% or 0.22 to $61.77 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in April fell 0.81% or 0.53 to hit $65.14 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 1.17% or 15.90 to trade at $1340.30 a troy ounce.

USD/ILS was down 0.33% to 3.4959, while EUR/ILS fell 0.84% to 4.3141.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.53% at 89.55.

Crude Oil Prices Mixed but Optimism Prevails

Investing.com - Crude oil prices were mixed on Tuesday, as reduced supplies from Canada boosted demand for U.S. oil futures, while the Brent contract remained lower although optimism over the rebalancing of the market persisted.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude April contract was little changed at $61.55 a barrel by 10:00 a.m. ET (14:00 GMT), just off a two-week high of $62.64 hit overnight.

The U.S. contract was boosted a result of reduced flows from Canada's Keystone pipeline, which has been operating below capacity since late last year due to a leak.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for April delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London lost 67 cents or about 1.02% to $65.00 a barrel, after hitting a more than one-week peak of $65.90 on Monday.

Prices strengthened after Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel could act against Iran itself, not just its allies in the Middle East, following border incidents in Syria.

The commodity also remained supported by ongoing global supply cut efforts. The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), along with some non-OPEC members led by Russia, agreed in December to extend oil output cuts until the end of 2018.

The deal to cut oil output by 1.8 million barrels a day (bpd) was adopted last winter by OPEC, Russia and nine other global producers. The agreement was due to end in March 2018, having already been extended once.

However fears that rising U.S. output could dampen OPEC’s efforts to rid the market of excess supplies have systematically limited oil prices' gains recently.

Elsewhere, gasoline futures retreated 1.09% to $1.762 a gallon, while natural gas futures gained 2.89% to $2.632 per million British thermal units.

Stocks- Wall Street Dips Down on Bond Yield Concern

Investing.com – Wall Street struggled for direction on Tuesday after the long holiday weekend, as rising bond yields weighed on investors minds.

The S&P 500 was down seven points or 0.27% to 2,724.87 as of 9:45 AM ET (14:45 GMT) while the Dow composite decreased 98 points or 0.39% to 25,121.25, and tech heavy NASDAQ Composite rose over one and a half points or 0.02% to 7,240.96.

Fresh jitters have returned to the market, as investors keep an eye on the bond market amid inflation concerns. Markets were closed on Monday for President’s Day.

Bond yields pulled back slightly from earlier gains, with the benchmark 10-Year Treasury note at 2.893% and the 30-Year note increasing to 3.146%.

Home Depot (NYSE:HD) was among the biggest gainers after the morning bell, rising 1.60% after its earnings beat analysts’ forecasts. Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) was up 1.04% while drugstore Rite Aid Corporation (NYSE:RAD) rose 6.34% after grocer Albertsons said it would acquire the portion of the retailer not being bought by Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc (NASDAQ:WBA).

The owner of America’s largest brick and mortar stores, Walmart (NYSE:WMT), slumped 7.43% after it reported lower than expected profit in the fourth quarter. Social media app Snap Inc (NYSE:SNAP) was down 5.63% after Citigroup (NYSE:C) downgraded its stock to sell while Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) lost 3.93% after it raised its offer to buy NXP Semiconductors NV (NASDAQ:NXPI) to $127.50 per share from $110.

In Europe stocks were mostly up in a choppy day of trading. In Germany the DAX rose 48 points or 0.39% while France’s CAC 40 increased 28 points or 0.54% and in London the FTSE 100 lost 13 points or 0.19%. Meanwhile Spain’s IBEX 35 was up 83 points or 0.85% and the pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 inched up 21 points or 0.63%.

In commodities, gold futures were down 0.91% to $1,343.90 a troy ounce while crude oil futures rose 0.29% to $61.73 a barrel. The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.46% to 89.49.

With Regulatory Doom and Gloom Fading, Cryptocurrencies Show Signs Of Rebound


Investing.com - Just as the threat of a regulatory crackdown triggered a selloff in cryptocurrency prices in late January, a more favorable regulatory environment since then has helped power a recovery in prices.
Since bitcoin briefly traded below $6,000 in early February, comments or actions by regulators in several countries have been positives for the market, bringing the digital currency back above the $10,000 level.
Most recently, Swiss regulators issued a set of guidelines for initial coin offerings, which called for treating them as securities, further legitimizing them.
Singapore's top regulator indicated the government sees no systemic risk from cryptocurrencies and thus no need to ban trading in them.
In the U.S., the White House's top cybersecurity official echoed the position of the nation's two top financial regulators that there needed to be more understanding of digital currencies before the establishment of a regulatory framework.
Even South Korea appeared to back off from any draconian measures, with reports indicating the government is now considering a licensing system for cryptocurrency exchanges instead of a ban.
In general, regulators appear more concerned about the use of cryptocurrencies in illegal activities, such as money laundering, and establishing investor protections, than limiting or banning the use of digital currencies.

Natural Gas Futures Rally As Cold Weather Seen Returning

Investing.com - Natural gas futures were higher on Tuesday, moving further away from their lowest levels in almost two years set last week, as updated weather forecasting models showed a return to colder weather over the eastern U.S. during the first week of March.

Front-month U.S. natural gas futures climbed 7.0 cents, or around 2.8%, to $2.628 per million British thermal units (btu) by 8:20AM ET (1320GMT).

It reached its best level since Feb. 9 at $2.662 earlier in the session, well above last Thursday's 21-month low of $2.530.

U.S. gas futures did not settle on Monday due to the Presidents' Day holiday.

The commodity saw a weekly decline of 1% last week, its third such loss in a row.

Natural gas prices are down almost 30% since late January, amid speculation the end of the winter heating season will bring warmer temperatures throughout the U.S. and cut into demand for the fuel.

Market experts warned that futures are likely to remain vulnerable in the near-term as the coldest part of the winter has effectively passed and below-normal temperatures in April mean less than they do in January and February.

Spring usually sees the weakest demand for natural gas in the U.S, as the absence of extreme temperatures curbs demand for heating and air conditioning.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.

Meanwhile, market participants looked ahead to this week's storage data due on Thursday, which is expected to show a draw in a range between 112 and 128 billion cubic feet (bcf) in the week ended Feb. 16.

That compares with a decline of 194 bcf in the preceding week, a fall of 89 bcf a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 145 bcf.

Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 1.884 trillion cubic feet (tcf), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

That figure is 577 bcf, or around 23.4%, lower than levels at this time a year ago and 433 bcf, or roughly 18.6%, below the five-year average for this time of year.

Gold Prices Still Under Pressure on Stronger Dollar

Investing.com - Gold prices remained under pressure on Tuesday, as U.S. dollar strength and lower demand for safe-haven assets continued to weigh on the precious metal.

Comex gold futures were down 1.08% at $1,341.6 a troy ounce by 08:00 a.m. ET (12:00 GMT), the lowest since February 14.

The greenback remained supported against other major currencies despite U.S. deficit worries. The U.S. deficit is projected projected to climb near $1 trillion in 2019 following the recent announcement of infrastructure spending and large corporate tax cuts.

The dollar has been pressured lower recently by expectations for a faster pace of monetary tightening outside the U.S., which would lessen the divergence between the Federal Reserve and other central banks.

Market participants were looking ahead to the minutes of the Fed's latest policy meeting, due on Wednesday, for potential indications on the pace of future rate hikes.

Gold is sensitive to moves in both U.S. rates and the dollar. A stronger dollar makes gold more expensive for holders of foreign currency, while a rise in U.S. rates lifts the opportunity cost of holding non-yielding assets such as bullion.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.51% at 89.53, the highest since February 14.

Elsewhere on the Comex, silver futures lost 1.30% to $16.49 a troy ounce.

As Yen Rises, So Does Chance of Bank of Japan Intervention

Investing.com - With the weakening U.S. dollar within striking distance of the 100-yen level, Japan's central bank seems poised to intervene in the currency markets to stem the rise of the yen.
Earlier this month, Japan's finance minister said the yen's recent gains were not abrupt enough to intervene. Market watchers, however, say it is now only a matter of time before it does,
The level of the yen is important to Tokyo because Japan's five-year economic recovery has been helped by strong exports, thanks to the weak yen.
The dollar recently traded below the 106-yen level, down sharply from its 2016 high of 125 yen.
According to BNY Mellon, which see the 100-yen level as a trigger point for action, the Bank of Japan has intervened in the currency markets 329 times since 1991--with limited success.
Currency experts say such efforts to influence the value of a currency may have a temporary impact but hardly ever alter market trends. Intervention is most likely to succeed when a group of central banks, such as those belonging to the Group of Seven, take coordinated action.
Group efforts, however, have become rare. Central banks last staged coordinated market intervention in 2011, but that was when the dollar was hitting record lows against the yen.

Post-Brexit UK Will Lead 'Race to the Top' - Davis

Investing.com - UK Secretary of State for Brexit David Davis called for continued participation between the UK and the European Union following the UK’s departure from the EU in March next year.

At a meeting in Vienna, Davis delivered the third in a series of six speeches from UK cabinet ministers, dubbed the ‘road to Brexit’, which are aimed at clarifying the government’s position on the UK’s future relationship with the EU.

The Prime Minister’s office has described the speeches as a ‘rallying cry to those on both sides of the Brexit debate’.

During the speech, Davis assured critics on both sides of the channel that leaving the EU would not mean undercutting the EU by ripping up its regulations and slashing taxes. He stated that his vision for the future relationship of the UK and the EU would be one of ‘respectful partners and not suspicious competitors.’ He called for the need for a mutual recognition of standards, which would ensure that the EU and the UK remain close trading partners.

Mutual recognition, as he viewed it, would be achieved through the pursuit of quality and in driving new standards in a changing economy during the ‘next phase of globalisation’.

The speech showed Davis, previously viewed as a bastion for a harder Brexit, to be a proponent of a more amicable divorce. In pursuing close alignment with the EU after Brexit, Davis stated that he hoped the UK would be entitled to the same mutual recognition of quality standards as Canada and South Korea..

Davis stressed that the UK had no intention to undermine the EU and spoke out against critics of the divorce. In ruling out a ‘Mad Max’ post-Brexit Britain, Davis said: ‘With Britain plunged into a Mad Max-style world borrowed from dystopian fiction. These fears about a race to the bottom are based on nothing, not history, not intention, nor interest.'

In response to fears that Brexit implied the UK was entering into a ‘race to the bottom’, Davis stated that throughout history Britain had been at the forefront of quality and safety standards and that in maintaining the same level of quality post-Brexit, the UK would ‘lead a global race to the top.’.

Davis said Brexit would not undermine or weaken workers’ rights, financial regulations or jeopardize the environment.

The cabinet, seen as divided on their post-Brexit vision, have scheduled an ‘away day’ from Parliament on Thursday in a bid to once and for all unite their Brexit position.

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