LONDON – The latest on the turmoil in global financial markets (all times local):
Stocks on Wall Street have opened higher after a three-day weekend.
The Dow was up 0.7 per cent at 16,084.09 while the broader S&P 500 index was 0.9 per cent higher at 1,881.04.
The rise has been underpinned by market gains in Asia and Europe, where investors are hoping for more central bank stimulus.
Overall market sentiment remains fragile, however, due to ongoing concerns of low growth, weak inflation and falling oil prices. The price of crude was up marginally at $29.45 a barrel on Tuesday.
Whether this week’s more robust tone in global stock markets lasts could well hinge on the performance of Wall Street.
Following the three-day weekend, traders return to their desks Tuesday and the expectation is that U.S. stocks will track their counterparts around the world higher.
Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures are both pointing to a 1.4 per cent advance at the opening bell. Wall Street’s expected recovery has helped shore up European markets, which had been edging lower. The Stoxx 600 is higher, but just — up 0.1 per cent.
Few market participants are ready to say that the tumult of recent weeks is over.
Joshua Mahony, market analyst at London-based brokerage IG, says it’s likely to be only “a matter of time before we see the sellers dominate once more.”
Reports that several oil ministers, including those from Russia and Saudi Arabia, have reached a conditional agreement to freeze production at January levels, haven’t been greeted with much enthusiasm in markets.
Having opened firmly, European stock markets are back in the red, with the Stoxx 600 index down 0.6 per cent. The main New York benchmark rate drifted back below $30 a barrel on the news, though it was still trading 1 per cent higher on the day at $29.75.
Mike van Dulken, Head of Research at Accendo Markets, says the reported deal doesn’t represent “quite the ‘cut’ that oil bulls had been hoping for.”
He also says the deal is contingent on other oil-producing nations agreeing to the freeze and that Iran “is unlikely to given it has only just returned to the market after sanctions were lifted.”
Oil prices have bounced back further amid reports the Russian and Saudi oil ministers met in Doha, Qatar, and reached a conditional agreement to freeze production at January levels.
A barrel of benchmark New York crude is up 77 cents at $30.21, while a barrel of Brent, the international standard, has increased 89 cents to $34.28.
Kit Juckes, a global strategist at Societe Generale, isn’t confident about the sustainability of the latest rise as the oil market is “now hyper-sensitive to news in both directions on supply, inventories and oil-politics.”
Another solid performance across Asian markets has helped European stocks post further gains, but few market participants are willing to say the recent turmoil has run its course.
The strengthening of the Chinese currency, a rebound in the price of oil and hopes for more central bank stimulus have offered stock markets relief this week.
Following broad-based increases in Asia earlier, European markets have opened in the black, with the Stoxx 600 index up 0.5 per cent.
Much of the week’s tone could well hinge on how U.S. markets perform when traders on Wall Street return to their desks later following the Presidents’ Day holiday.
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London, is cautious that the better tone in markets this week marks a turning point. The factors that have driven the sharp declines in the last few weeks “haven’t changed,” he said.