OPENING IN THE DISORDER IN SIGHT IN EUROPE, DROP OF OIL
by Marc Angrand
PARIS (Reuters) – The main European stock markets are expected this Thursday in scattered order for the last session of the quarter, while oil prices fall and questions persist about the evolution of the military situation in Ukraine and the intentions of Russia.
Index futures contracts suggest a 0.19% drop for the Paris CAC 40, but a 0.59% rise for the Frankfurt Dax and a 0.36% rise for the EuroStoxx 50, while the FTSE 100 London should start near balance.
The Biden administration plans to extract 180 million barrels of oil from US strategic reserves in the coming years, four US sources have learned, in an attempt to lower prices at gas stations after rising in recent weeks. caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
This initiative, which could at least temporarily dissipate fears linked to the rise in energy prices on a global scale, temporarily relegates to the background the renewed concern about the military situation in Ukraine, where President Volodimir Zelensky spoke of the risk of a new Russian offensive in the east.
“Investors do not see in the actions a de-escalation of the conflict, although positive signals have been sent in recent days,” Saxo Bank points out in its daily note.
Concerns about the economic situation could also encourage caution: China’s official PMIs show a contraction in activity in March in both the manufacturing and services sectors, a double dip not seen since February 2020.
In Germany, retail sales rose just 0.3% in February, while the Reuters consensus expected a rise of 0.5%.
Also on the agenda for the day are, among other things, the first estimate of inflation in France, US household income and spending figures, and US jobless claims, ahead of the monthly jobs report.
This session is the last of a quarter that should end, for the main European indices, with the sharpest decline since the beginning of 2020: the CAC 40 is down 5.75% and the Stoxx 600 is down 5.66% since January 1.
Crude oil prices are falling again ahead of Joe Biden’s announcement of increased use of US strategic reserves.
Brent fell 3.62% to $109.34 a barrel and US light crude (West Texas Intermediate, WTI) fell 5.13% to $102.29.
The market is also awaiting the conclusions of the OPEC+ meeting scheduled for the day.
A WALL STREET
The New York Stock Exchange closed in the red on Wednesday, with the Dow Jones and S&P-500 seeing the end of a run of four sessions in the green, amid recent signs of progress in talks between Russia and Ukraine. .
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.19%, or 65.38 points, to 35,228.81, the Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 29.15 points, or 0.63%, to 4,602.45 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 177, 36 points (-1.21%) to 14,442.28.
In contrast to the previous day, the energy sector was the best performer of the major sectors in the S&P-500 with an increase of 1.17%.
Despite rallying more than 5% in March, the S&P-500 is on track for its first quarterly decline since early 2020.
Major index futures suggest a slightly higher open for now.
On the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the Nikkei index ended down 0.73% on profit-taking ahead of the end of the Japanese fiscal year. It posted a 4.88% increase in March, its best monthly performance since November 2020, but a 3.37% drop since the beginning of the year.
In China, official PMI figures weigh in on the trend: Shanghai’s SSE Composite returns 0.31% and the CSI 300 0.6%.
In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng fell 1.08% with technology stocks again affected by fears of a forced exit of several large groups from the US share price. Baidu thus yields 1.76%.
US Treasury bond yields continue the downward movement seen since Monday after the rapid bullish phase linked to expectations of an increase in Federal Reserve rates: the ten-year returns to 2 .3416% and the two-year one at 2.2983%.
The gap between the two is thus close to four basis points after the brief reversal seen in Tuesday’s session, considered a sign of greater risk of recession.
The ten-year German bond fell slightly in early trading to 0.66%.
The euro remains above $1.1150, a one-month high, after rallying 1.6% in the last two sessions on hopes of a turning point in the Ukraine conflict.
The renewed strength of the single currency does not prevent the “dollar index”, which measures the fluctuations of the greenback against a reference basket, from advancing 0.04%. The latter posted a gain of around 2% over the first quarter as a whole.
(edited by Nicholas Delame)