Angeliki - Ellie Papadopoulou writes for the International Support of Funds and Markets website.
Her main article is a daily roundup of the most significant U.S. Market financial and business news. This commentary is an original translation and adaptation of material, with summaries of information on other markets compiled from financial websites.
Data hurts equities and commodities (ISFM) (05-05-2011)
Data has been sending world markets south in recent days and the coup the grace came from the U.S. jobless claims which rose above 400,000 for a fourth straight week, further indication that the U.S. economy is struggling. In Europe, the euro dropped sharply after the ECB chief declined to indicate that interest rates would rise again next month, as traders were expecting.
Earlier in Asia, markets remained in a tight range, albeit a mixed one as inflation concerns in the region continued to bug investors during this week that has already seen India's central bank lift interest rates and the People's Bank of China hint that it may do so again soon. Nonetheless, mainland Chinese shares edged higher as investors snapped up bargains following the Shanghai benchmark's biggest loss in more than 2 months the day before.
In the oil markets, benchmark crude was down $3.37 a barrel at $105.90, succumbing to investor worry that slowing U.S. economic growth will undermine demand for crude.
In Europe, markets remained in negative territory after the ECB policy decision with sentiment dragged down by weak earnings and unfavorable data and the euro lost ground after the European Central Bank's President Jean-Claude Trichet avoided his usual "strong vigilance" over inflation wording, which in the past has been a key phrase to flag a rate increase the following month. Instead, he told a press briefing Thursday after the bank held its main interest rate at 1.25 percent that the bank would "monitor very closely" the risk of higher inflation before deciding another increase.
Back on Wall Street, U.S. stocks opened lower, reversing a rise in futures, and extending losses into a fourth day for two of the three benchmark indexes, after the unexpected rise in jobless claims.
Oil prices could be casting a shadow on markets (ISFM) (08-04-2011)
Investor relief as the strong aftershock in Japan did not make the situation in the battered country worse outdid concerns of the ongoing oil rally on the last day of this week. Indeed there was no fresh damage at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power complex, where workers have been making some progress in the ruined power plant by stopping highly radioactive water from flowing into the Pacific Ocean.
Markets in the region rose led by Japan, with TEPCO gaining on relief that a powerful earthquake overnight hadn’t inflicted much damage and on a higher outlook from the likes of Fast Retailing Co., among others. Conversely, Indian stocks extended their fall on concern high commodity prices could hurt corporate earnings and prompt further interest rate increases.
Oil markets were under a lot of pressure, particularly as fighting intensified in Libya, where is produced a little under 2 percent of the world's daily oil output. Benchmark crude for May delivery rose by $1.30 at $111.60 a barrel, the highest since September 2008, in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Highlighting the need for a safe haven, gold futures rose yet again, reaching $1,468 while silver topped $40 an ounce and among currencies the euro jumped and the dollar sank.
In Europe, markets advanced in the wake of the rally in Japanese stocks overnight and a surge in precious-metal prices. The relief in Asia after the tsunami warning was lifted carried over to the European markets this morning; they were gaining as the interest-rate hike from the ECB and the Portuguese news were well priced in and there did not seem to be anything strongly affecting sentiment.
Back on Wall Street, U.S. stocks opened with rising modestly after the previous day's losses, but the gains might encounter the stumbling block of oil prices rising to levels not seen since September 2008.