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Oil surges, strategists mull death of the EM rally, and the RBNZ stands pat. Here are some of the things people in markets are talking about.
A sharp drop in U.S. crude inventories fueled the best day of the year for oil prices. West Texas Intermediate futures rose more than 3 percent to above $47 per barrel on the weekly report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which also showed that product stockpiles declined. OPEC and other major oil producers have curbed production in a bid to bring inventories down closer to their five-year average, and seem likely to extend that deal to help bring the market into balance more expediently.
Sell the Strength in EM?
At the Sohn Investment conference, DoubleLine Capital’s Jeffrey Gundlach advised investors to short the SPDR S&P 500 ETF while going long the iShares Emerging Markets ETF. But other strategists are advising that investors sell the strength in EM stocks, citing a host of potential headwinds including lower commodity prices. Contagion from China’s crackdown on financial leverage could also act as a catalyst for downside in the asset class. Any rollover in global trade volume growth, as prophesied by strategists at Morgan Stanley, would also likely weigh on EM stocks.
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand maintained its official cash rate at a record low of 1.75 percent in its decision on Thursday, as all 16 economists surveyed by Bloomberg said they expected. The central bank said policy will remain accommodative for a considerable period. However, rising and above-target inflation as well as relatively strong growth mean Governor Graeme Wheeler may soon be forced to shift to a more hawkish stance. Other data on deck: Japan’s current account for March, expected to show a surplus of almost $2.6 trillion yen, and international securities transactions for the week ending May 5.
The S&P 500 index and Nasdaq Composite index closed at record highs Wednesday as U.S. President Donald Trump’s surprise firing of FBI Director James Comey failed to spark risk aversion. Energy and technology shares contributed the most to the gains in benchmark equities. The U.S. dollar index and Treasuries were little changed.
Nikkei 225 and S&P/ASX 200 equity futures are both pointing to a higher open as of 5:30 a.m. Tokyo time, with weakness in the yen set to buoy Japanese stocks. The Shanghai Composite Index couldn’t string together back-to-back gains, falling 0.9 percent Wednesday. However, Chinese companies listed in Hong Kong posted their third straight session of gains, helping the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rise. The two Chinese stock benchmarks have become the most disconnected in over a decade.
What we’ve been reading
This is what caught our eye over the last 24 hours.
- Corporate China’s foreign spending spree is ending dramatically.
Aetna to fully exit Obamacare exchanges.
Bill Ackman has a secret position and it’s up huge.
After Comey’s firing, justice must be served.
Weep for bond traders no longer: big bonuses are back.
China’s Disney World for wine.