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Oil price above $80 lifts stocks, rate hikes expected

Published 09/25/2018, 11:58 AM
Updated 09/25/2018, 11:58 AM
© Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

By Hilary Russ

NEW YORK (Reuters) - World shares climbed on Tuesday as oil prices above $80 a barrel lifted U.S. energy stocks and as some central banks were expected to raise interest rates, spurring investors to look beyond the latest round of U.S.-China tariffs.

On Wall Street, energy shares rose along with banks, which climbed in anticipation of a U.S. Federal Reserve rate hike later on Tuesday. But U.S. shares then lost some steam, weighed by losses in Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and chipmakers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) rose 13.91 points, or 0.05 percent, to 26,575.96, the S&P 500 (SPX) gained 0.54 points, or 0.02 percent, to 2,919.91 and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) added 6.31 points, or 0.08 percent, to 7,999.55.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe (MIWD00000PUS) gained 0.11 percent, while the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index (FTEU3) rose 0.51 percent.

Concerns over trade tensions between the U.S. and China, the world's two biggest economies, were offset by oil, which grabbed the spotlight and added to gains after surging more than 3 percent on Monday.

OIL JUMPS

Brent crude futures (LCOc1) shot to four-year highs of almost $82 a barrel, catapulted by imminent U.S. sanctions on Iranian crude exports and the apparent reluctance of OPEC and Russia to raise output to offset the potential hit to global supply.

"The combination of tight supply, healthy demand, falling global inventories – down from already under-stored levels – and anemic spare capacity helps support an oil price which could end the year above $90," Richard Robinson, manager of Ashburton's Global Energy Fund, said.

U.S. crude rose 0.21 percent to $72.23 per barrel and Brent was last at $82.09, up 1.1 percent on the day.

The rise in energy shares, however, failed to squash broader market pessimism after new tariffs imposed by Beijing and Washington on each other's goods kicked in on Monday, and Chinese Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen accused the United States of putting "a knife to China's neck."

There are other big worries for investors too, not least the timing and pace of central bank policy tightening.

While the Fed is poised to hike rates for a third time in 2018 this week, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on Monday raised expectations the euro zone will also start to normalize policy over the coming year by referring to "relatively vigorous" underlying inflation and brisk wage growth.

That pushed German 10-year bond yields to four-month highs (DE10YT=RR) above 0.5 percent.

U.S. 10-year Treasury yields touched a new four-month high (US10YT=RR) above 3.10 percent in advance of government debt supply later Tuesday and on bets about Fed interest rate hikes.

Benchmark 10-year notes (US10YT=RR) last fell 6/32 in price to yield 3.0983 percent, from 3.078 percent late on Monday.

The U.S. dollar weakened ahead of the Fed's two-day policy meeting, as investors have already priced in two more interest rate increases this year and some in 2019, leaving little room for further currency gains.

The dollar index (DXY), tracking it against a basket of major currencies, fell 0.06 percent, with the euro (EUR=) up 0.16 percent to $1.1765.

Since mid-August, the dollar has declined 3.1 percent against that basket of currencies.

© Reuters. Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New York

"The U.S. dollar appears vulnerable... given extended speculative bullish positioning against most of the G10 currencies and considerable tightening already reflected in fed funds futures," said Eric Theoret, currency strategist at Scotiabank in Toronto.

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