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Oil pares some of yesterday's losses, reality hits anti-Brexit campaigners, and there's something odd happening in Chinese stocks. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about today.
After falling almost $2 yesterday, the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate for May delivery had risen 43 cents to $50.87 by 5:15 a.m. Eastern Time. The recovery comes as momentum gathers behind an extension of the production-cut deal, which is currently due to end in June. Saudi Arabia said this morning that Gulf-based oil producers have reached an agreement on prolonging the curbs.
Brexit reality check
Yesterday the U.K. Parliament overwhelmingly supported Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for a June 8 election, with only 13 of the 535 votes cast opposing the idea. With her Conservative Party holding a 20-point lead in the polls, a huge parliamentary majority seems certain for the prime minister. For anti-Brexit campaigners, such a victory would dash any lingering hopes that the decision to leave the EU could be undone, as the Conservatives seem set to campaign on a hard-Brexit platform.
The Shanghai Composite Index, which has gained a reputation for wild swings over the past two years, is now standing out for another reason -- it has not fallen more than 1 percent in 84 trading sessions, the longest stretch of its kind since 1992. Investors are interpreting the trend as owing to state-directed funds putting a floor under daily market swings. Guan Tao, former director of the international payments department at China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange, sees a different solution when it comes to the yuan, which he thinks should be allowed to trade in a wider band, as capital controls are eased.
Overnight, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 0.3 percent, while Japan's Topix Index added 0.1 percent, as data showed the country's exports surged in March. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index was 0.2 percent higher at 5:50 a.m., with Unilever gaining 1.3 percent after announcing that sales beat estimates. U.S. stock futures also rose.
Central bankers ready tightening
European Central Bank officials are getting closer to the point where they'll start preparing the end of their monetary stimulus. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said foreign economies are now better able to handle Fed hikes. Markets are starting to ponder what effect the unwind of this historic stimulus is going to have.
What we've been reading
This is what's caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- The nightmare scenario for Florida’s coastal homeowners.
- Digging miles underground for mere specks of gold.
- Erdogan's new powers do little to address Turkey's old problems.
- Another Middle Eastern oil producer plans an IPO.
- Silicon valley’s $400 juicer may be feeling the squeeze.
- The making of Marine Le Pen.
- Ten years on: fixing the fault lines of the global financial crisis.
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