Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, April 20:
1. Oil rebounds on OPEC comments
Oil prices were higher on Thursday, bouncing back from its worst day in six weeks after leading Gulf oil producers Saudi Arabia and Kuwait gave the clearest signal yet that OPEC plans to extend into the second half of the year a deal with non-OPEC producers to curb oil supplies.
Consensus is growing among oil producers that their supply restraint agreement should be extended after its initial six-month term, but there is as yet no agreement, Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said on Thursday.
Kuwait's oil minister Essam al-Marzouq, at the same event, said he expected to see an extension of the agreement.
In November last year, OPEC and other producers, including Russia agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day between January and June. A final decision on whether or not to extend the deal beyond June will be taken by the oil cartel on May 25.
Oil futures sank almost 4% on Wednesday after weekly supply data showed U.S. gasoline supplies increased for the first time since February, while crude output kept rising.
2. Euro hits 3-week high as French presidential election looms
The euro rose to its highest level in three weeks against the dollar on Thursday, after a new opinion poll indicated that centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron will win the French presidential election.
EUR/USD climbed 0.6% to 1.0774, a level not seen since March 29.
The Harris Interactive opinion poll showed that 25% of voters intended to vote for Macron in the run-up to Sunday’s first round of voting, ahead of Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Front party on 22%.
Republican candidate Francois Fillon was at 19% and left-wing candidate Jean-Luc Melenchon was also at 19%.
The poll also showed Macron comfortably beating Le Pen in the second round of voting two weeks later at 66% to 34%.
Investors are fearful over the prospect of a second round run-off between euro skeptics Melenchon and Le Pen, who both want to put the country’s European Union membership to a vote.
3. Dollar slides to 3-week low amid geopolitical worries
Geopolitical concerns remained to the forefront after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Wednesday that Washington was looking at ways to pressure North Korea over its nuclear program.
North Korean state media warned the U.S. of a "super-mighty preemptive strike", saying don't "mess with us" as tensions between the two countries continued to rise.
Markets on Thursday will be watching a few economic reports, such as initial jobless claims at 8:30AM ET (12:30GMT) and the Philadelphia Fed survey, also at 8:30AM ET. The leading index for March is reported at 10AM ET.
A recent batch of disappointing data on employment, consumer spending and inflation prompted market players to push back their expectations for two more hikes this year, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool.
4. Global stocks struggle in cautious trade
U.S. stock market futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Thursday morning, as investors looked ahead to more corporate earnings while monitoring continued geopolitical tension concerning North Korea.
Earnings are expected from Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Travelers (NYSE:TRV), Blackstone (NYSE:BX), Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK), Imax (NYSE:IMAX), KeyCorp (NYSE:KEY) and Danaher (NYSE:DHR) before the bell. After the bell, Visa (NYSE:V) and Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) report.
5. IMF, World Bank meeting kicks off
World finance leaders are gathering on U.S. President Donald Trump's home turf on Thursday to try to nudge his still-evolving policies away from protectionism and show broad support for open trade and global integration.
The International Monetary Fund and World Bank spring meetings bring the two multilateral institutions' 189 members face-to-face with Trump's "America First" agenda for the first time, just two blocks from the White House.
World Bank President Jim Yong Kim and IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde will address the media at 8:45AM ET (12:45GMT) and 9:30AM ET (13:30GMT) respectively.
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