Crude settles at 3-week high on bullish inventories data

Investing.com – Crude futures settled higher on Wednesday, after the latest Energy Information Administration (EIA) report showed a smaller than expected rise in U.S. crude stockpiles while output disruptions in Libya continued to lift sentiment.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for April delivery added $1.14 to settle at $49.51 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent gained 98 cents to trade at 52.40 a barrel.

Oil prices continued to rebound for a second straight session, buoyed by bullish crude inventories data and continued output disruption in Libya.

For the week ending March 22, The EIA said that crude oil inventories rose by 0.867 million barrels compared to estimates of an increase of 1.357 million barrels.

Gasoline inventories dipped by 3.747 million against expectations for a drop of 1.886 million barrels while distillate stockpiles fell by 2.483 million barrels, compared to expectations of a 1.886 million decline.

Elsewhere, armed factions at the western Libyan oil fields of Sharara and Wafa continued to block production, reducing output by 252,000 barrels per day (bpd), about a third of production.

Crude futures are on tentative path to recovery and settled above $49 for the first time in nearly three-weeks amid worries that growing U.S. crude inventories to record levels would dampen OPEC’s effort to tackle the oversupply issue in the industry.

In November last year, OPEC and other producers, including Russia agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in an effort to combat the oversupply issue that has pressured prices over the last two years.

Meanwhile, market participants turn attention to Baker Hughes rig count, due to be released on Friday at 13:00 EDT.

Fed’s Wiliams: Don’t rule out more than 3 rate hikes this year

Investing.com – San Francisco Federal Reserve President John Williams hinted on Wednesday, the possibility of the U.S. central bank increasing interest rates faster than expected, as he said the economy is close to achieving the Federal Reserve’s dual mandate.

The San Francisco Fed chief pointed to the rebound in the U.S economy since The Financial Crisis, as the rate of employment and inflation is close to the Federal Reserve’s targets.

“With an economy at full employment, inflation nearing the Fed’s 2 per cent goal … We’ve largely attained the hard-sought recovery we’ve been after for the past nine years,” Williams also raised expectation of additional rate increases as he said his central bank colleagues should not "rule out more than three increases total for this year."

Williams struck a similar tone to Fed members Charles Evans and Eric Rosengren, who both suggested the robust growth in the U.S. economy warrants additional rate hikes this year.

Fed member Charles Evans said Wednesday, he has confidence that two total rate increases in 2017 seems “very safe” while Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren opted for a more bullish outlook, after he said the U.S. central bank should be prepared to raise interest rates a total of four times in 2017 to prevent the U.S. economy from overheating.

The U.S. dollar index was little changed, after the slew of rate hike chatter from several Fed members, the index remained close to session highs and traded at 99.87 up 0.57% by 14:09 EDT.

Gold futures continued to trade in negative territory, down 0.25% to $1,252.45 while Treasury yields inched off lows with U.S. 10-Year trading at around 2.391.

Morocco stocks higher at close of trade; Moroccan All Shares up 0.62%

Investing.com – Morocco stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Construction&Building Materials, Insurance and Pharmaceutical Industry sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Casablanca, the Moroccan All Shares added 0.62%.

The best performers of the session on the Moroccan All Shares were Alliances (CS:ADI), which rose 4.53% or 7 points to trade at 166 at the close. Meanwhile, LafargeHolcim Maroc (CS:LHM) added 4.50% or 99 points to end at 2299 and Wafa Assurance (CS:WASS) was up 4.02% or 181 points to 4681 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Taslif (CS:TSF1), which fell 5.97% or 1.77 points to trade at 27.86 at the close. Rebab Company (CS:REBA) declined 5.96% or 7.75 points to end at 122.25 and Micro Data SA (CS:MIC) was down 4.54% or 9.30 points to 195.60.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Casablanca Stock Exchange by 22 to 13 and 8 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for May delivery was up 2.01% or 0.97 to $49.34 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in June rose 1.81% or 0.93 to hit $52.35 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 0.27% or 3.35 to trade at $1252.25 a troy ounce.

EUR/MAD was down 0.22% to 10.7560, while USD/MAD rose 0.28% to 9.9950.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.39% at 99.92.

Dollar trades at highs; sterling and euro sink

Investing.com - The dollar rose against a basket of major currencies on Wednesday, buoyed by better than expected U.S. home sales data while a slump in both the euro and pound underpinned upside momentum in the greenback.

The dollar continued its stuttering recovery from multi-month lows, hitting a session high of 99.96, after the U.S. National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales increased by 5.5% last month, which was far above economists’ forecast of a 2.4% increase.

Meanwhile, several comments from Federal Reserve officials helped shift investors’ focus to the prospect of additional rate hikes this year, after Fed member Charles Evans said he has confidence that two total rate increases in 2017 seems “very safe”.

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren took a somewhat bullish outlook on possible rate hikes, after he said the U.S. central bank should be prepared to raise interest rates a total of four times in 2017 to prevent the U.S. economy from overheating.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, gained 0.37% to 99.90 by 12:50 EDT.

Elsewhere, sterling lost ground against the greenback, after British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, with GBP/USD, down 0.35% to $1.2402.

Meanwhile, EUR/USD fell 0.56% to $1.0753, after a report surfaced, suggesting that European Central Bank policymakers are wary of adjusting their policy message in April, as it may lead to a surge borrowing costs for member countries.

USD/JPY traded largely flat at 111.08, while USD/CAD dipped 0.08% to $1.3373.

Portugal stocks higher at close of trade; PSI 20 up 0.77%

Investing.com – Portugal stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Basic Materials, Financials and Technology sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Lisbon, the PSI 20 rose 0.77% to hit a new 6-months high.

The best performers of the session on the PSI 20 were The Navigator Company SA (LS:NVGR), which rose 2.78% or 0.1000 points to trade at 3.7010 at the close. Meanwhile, Ibersol SGPS (LS:IBS) added 2.23% or 0.325 points to end at 14.905 and Banco Comercial Portugues (LS:BCP) was up 2.16% or 0.0040 points to 0.1896 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Altri SGPS (LS:ALSS), which fell 0.67% or 0.0280 points to trade at 4.1690 at the close. Pharol SGPS SA (LS:PHRA) declined 0.53% or 0.0020 points to end at 0.3760 and CTT Correios de Portugal SA (LS:CTT) was down 0.49% or 0.0250 points to 5.1020.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Lisbon Stock Exchange by 23 to 11 and 6 ended unchanged.

Shares in The Navigator Company SA (LS:NVGR) rose to 52-week highs; up 2.78% or 0.1000 to 3.7010.

Brent oil for June delivery was up 1.93% or 0.99 to $52.41 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in May rose 2.09% or 1.01 to hit $49.38 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 0.37% or 4.65 to trade at $1250.95 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was down 0.56% to 1.0753, while EUR/GBP fell 0.15% to 0.8670.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.40% at 99.93.

Denmark stocks higher at close of trade; OMX Copenhagen 20 up 0.03%

Investing.com – Denmark stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Healthcare, Oil&Gas and Consumer Goods sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Copenhagen, the OMX Copenhagen 20 added 0.03%.

The best performers of the session on the OMX Copenhagen 20 were Carlsberg A/S B (CO:CARLb), which rose 2.45% or 15.5 points to trade at 647.5 at the close. Meanwhile, Genmab (CO:GEN) added 1.78% or 25.0 points to end at 1427.0 and Lundbeck A/S (CO:LUN) was up 0.66% or 2.1 points to 322.1 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Pandora A/S (CO:PNDORA), which fell 2.06% or 16.0 points to trade at 760.5 at the close. AP Moeller - Maersk A/S B (CO:MAERSKb) declined 1.23% or 140 points to end at 11280 and Nets A/S (CO:NETS) was down 1.09% or 1.20 points to 108.80.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange by 63 to 56 and 15 ended unchanged.

Shares in Lundbeck A/S (CO:LUN) rose to all time highs; gaining 0.66% or 2.1 to 322.1.

Crude oil for May delivery was up 2.05% or 0.99 to $49.36 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in June rose 1.87% or 0.96 to hit $52.38 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 0.36% or 4.55 to trade at $1251.05 a troy ounce.

USD/DKK was up 0.55% to 6.9183, while EUR/DKK fell 0.01% to 7.4398.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.39% at 99.92.

France stocks higher at close of trade; CAC 40 up 0.45%

Investing.com – France stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Utilities, Basic Materials and Oil&Gas sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Paris, the CAC 40 gained 0.45% to hit a new 52-week high, while the SBF 120 index gained 0.40%.

The best performers of the session on the CAC 40 were TechnipFMC PLC (PA:FTI), which rose 4.58% or 1.33 points to trade at 30.39 at the close. Meanwhile, Engie SA (PA:ENGIE) added 2.95% or 0.38 points to end at 13.10 and Vivendi SA (PA:VIV) was up 1.52% or 0.27 points to 17.68 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Accor SA (PA:ACCP), which fell 0.91% or 0.35 points to trade at 38.80 at the close. Societe Generale (PA:SOGN) declined 0.79% or 0.38 points to end at 47.20 and Essilor International Compagnie Generale d’Optique SA (PA:ESSI) was down 0.75% or 0.85 points to 113.00.

The top performers on the SBF 120 were Neopost (PA:NPOS) which rose 12.20% to 34.22, Vallourec (PA:VLLP) which was up 5.01% to settle at 5.954 and TechnipFMC PLC (PA:FTI) which gained 4.58% to close at 30.39.

The worst performers were Soitec SA (PA:SOIT) which was down 4.79% to 39.950 in late trade, Eutelsat Communications (PA:ETL) which lost 2.29% to settle at 19.83 and Air France KLM SA (PA:AIRF) which was down 1.96% to 7.059 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Paris Stock Exchange by 342 to 268 and 101 ended unchanged.

Shares in Neopost (PA:NPOS) rose to 52-week highs; rising 12.20% or 3.72 to 34.22.

The CAC 40 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of CAC 40 options, was up 0.82% to 15.91.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 0.36% or 4.55 to $1251.05 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in May rose 2.03% or 0.98 to hit $49.35 a barrel, while the June Brent oil contract rose 1.87% or 0.96 to trade at $52.38 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.56% to 1.0753, while EUR/GBP fell 0.16% to 0.8669.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.39% at 99.92.

Italy stocks lower at close of trade; Investing.com Italy 40 down 0.25%

Investing.com – Italy stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Telecoms, Healthcare and Industrials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Milan, the Investing.com Italy 40 lost 0.25%.

The best performers of the session on the Investing.com Italy 40 were Leonardo SpA (MI:LDOF), which rose 1.84% or 0.240 points to trade at 13.300 at the close. Meanwhile, Generali (MI:GASI) added 0.82% or 0.12 points to end at 14.77 and Buzzi Unicem (MI:BZU) was up 0.81% or 0.18 points to 22.53 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Banca Pop Emilia Romagna (MI:EMII), which fell 1.86% or 0.090 points to trade at 4.754 at the close. Italgas SpA (MI:IG) declined 1.84% or 0.08 points to end at 4.06 and Atlantia (MI:ATL) was down 1.84% or 0.45 points to 24.02.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Milan Stock Exchange by 185 to 170 and 15 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for May delivery was up 2.03% or 0.98 to $49.35 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in June rose 1.87% or 0.96 to hit $52.38 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 0.37% or 4.65 to trade at $1250.95 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was down 0.55% to 1.0754, while EUR/GBP fell 0.16% to 0.8669.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.39% at 99.92.

U.K. stocks higher at close of trade; Investing.com United Kingdom 100 up 0.42%

Investing.com – U.K. stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Industrial Metals&Mining, Financial Services and Tobacco sectors led shares higher.

At the close in London, the Investing.com United Kingdom 100 added 0.42%.

The best performers of the session on the Investing.com United Kingdom 100 were 3I Group PLC (LON:III), which rose 5.71% or 40.00 points to trade at 740.50 at the close. Meanwhile, London Stock Exchange Group PLC (LON:LSE) added 2.71% or 82.00 points to end at 3106.00 and BHP Billiton PLC (LON:BLT) was up 2.69% or 33.00 points to 1260.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Fresnillo PLC (LON:FRES), which fell 1.73% or 27.00 points to trade at 1535.00 at the close. Berkeley Group Hldgs (LON:BKGH) declined 1.67% or 54.00 points to end at 3171.00 and Standard Life PLC (LON:SL) was down 1.61% or 5.80 points to 354.40.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the London Stock Exchange by 1131 to 826 and 450 ended unchanged.

Shares in 3I Group PLC (LON:III) rose to 5-year highs; rising 5.71% or 40.00 to 740.50.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 0.31% or 3.85 to $1251.75 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in May rose 1.86% or 0.90 to hit $49.27 a barrel, while the June Brent oil contract rose 1.71% or 0.88 to trade at $52.30 a barrel.

GBP/USD was down 0.34% to 1.2405, while EUR/GBP fell 0.14% to 0.8671.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.37% at 99.90.

Poland stocks lower at close of trade; WIG30 down 0.54%

Investing.com – Poland stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Energy, Information Technology and Telecoms sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Warsaw, the WIG30 lost 0.54%.

The best performers of the session on the WIG30 were Grupa Lotos SA (WA:LTSP), which rose 4.29% or 2.29 points to trade at 55.68 at the close. Meanwhile, Globe Trade Centre SA (WA:GTCP) added 1.42% or 0.12 points to end at 8.60 and Jastrzebska Spotka Weglowa SA (WA:JSW) was up 0.78% or 0.51 points to 65.50 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Bank Millennium SA (WA:MILP), which fell 2.63% or 0.18 points to trade at 6.67 at the close. Tauron Polska Energia SA (WA:TPE) declined 2.33% or 0.080 points to end at 3.350 and PKP Cargo (WA:PKPP) was down 2.25% or 1.49 points to 64.60.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Warsaw Stock Exchange by 293 to 252 and 187 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for May delivery was up 1.88% or 0.91 to $49.28 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in June rose 1.79% or 0.92 to hit $52.34 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 0.31% or 3.95 to trade at $1251.65 a troy ounce.

EUR/PLN was down 0.51% to 4.2194, while USD/PLN rose 0.03% to 3.9228.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.36% at 99.89.

Turkey stocks lower at close of trade; BIST 100 down 1.01%

Investing.com – Turkey stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Leasing&Factoring, Banking and Sports sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Istanbul, the BIST 100 declined 1.01%.

The best performers of the session on the BIST 100 were Kordsa Global (IS:KORDS), which rose 3.29% or 0.26 points to trade at 8.16 at the close. Meanwhile, Do-Co (IS:DOCO) added 2.68% or 6.10 points to end at 234.10 and Cimsa (IS:CIMSA) was up 2.41% or 0.37 points to 15.70 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were T. Halk Bankasi (IS:HALKB), which fell 14.26% or 1.72 points to trade at 10.34 at the close. Ihlas Holding (IS:IHLAS) declined 4.76% or 0.020 points to end at 0.400 and Halk Gmyo (IS:HLGYO) was down 4.08% or 0.040 points to 0.940.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Istanbul Stock Exchange by 281 to 80 and 46 ended unchanged.

Shares in Kordsa Global (IS:KORDS) rose to all time highs; gaining 3.29% or 0.26 to 8.16.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 0.33% or 4.10 to $1251.50 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in May rose 1.86% or 0.90 to hit $49.27 a barrel, while the June Brent oil contract rose 1.77% or 0.91 to trade at $52.33 a barrel.

USD/TRY was up 0.03% to 3.6594, while EUR/TRY fell 0.50% to 3.9371.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.35% at 99.88.

Dollar remains broadly higher after upbeat U.S. data

Investing.com - The dollar remained broadly higher against other major currencies on Wednesday, as the release of upbeat U.S. housing sector data added to optimism over the strength of the economy.

EUR/USD dropped 0.52% to 1.0758, the lowest since March 21.

The U.S. National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales increased by 5.5% last month, more than doubling expectations for an increase of 2.4%.

The dollar had already strengthened after the U.S. Consumer Board said on Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to a nearly 17-year high of 125.6 in March from 116.1 the previous month, far above expectations of a reading of 114.

Meanwhile, the euro came under pressure after Reuters reported that European Central Bank policymakers are wary of adjusting their policy message in April amid concerns over a potential surge in borrowing costs in the bloc’s periphery.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD slipped 0.14% to 1.2430, after British Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50, formally beginning the two year process of the UK’s exit from the European Union.

USD/JPY edged down 0.17% to 110.98, while USD/CHF gained 0.35% to 0.9960.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were higher, with AUD/USD up 0.41% at 0.7664 and with NZD/USD adding 0.19% to 0.7028.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD fell 0.16% to trade at 1.3362.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.33% at 99.86, the highest since March 21.

U.S. Crude Oil Inventories 0.867M vs. 1.357M forecast

U.S. crude oil inventories rose less-than-expected last month, official data showed on Wednesday.

In a report, Energy Information Administration said that U.S. Crude Oil Inventories rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 0.867M, from 4.954M in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected U.S. Crude Oil Inventories to rise 1.357M last month.

U.S. pending home sales bounce bank in February, beating consensus

Investing.com - Pending home sales in the U.S. surged in February, bouncing back from a previous decline and bolstering optimism over the health of the housing sector, industry data showed on Wednesday.

In a report, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said its pending home sales index increased by a seasonally adjusted 5.5% last month, more than doubling expectations for an increase of 2.4%.

The pending home sales index increased to 112.3 in February from the prior 106.4.

January’s reading was revised to a 0.8% decline, compared to the initial reading of a 2.8% decrease.

Year-on-year, pending home sales increased at an annualized rate of 2.6% in February, its largest increase since last April and the second highest since May 2006.

“Buyers came back in force last month as a modest, seasonal uptick in listings were enough to fuel an increase in contract signings throughout the country,” NAR chief economist Larry Yun said.

“The stock market's continued rise and steady hiring in most markets is spurring significant interest in buying, as well as the expectation from some households that delaying their home search may mean paying higher interest rates later this year,” he added, while also noting that warm weather in February also played a role in buyers searching for a home.

Following the report, EUR/USD was trading at 1.0755 from around 1.0757 ahead of the release of the data, GBP/USD was at 1.2435 compared to 1.2426 previously, while USD/JPY was at 110.92 from 110.81 earlier.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 99.86, compared to 99.83 ahead of the report.

Meanwhile, U.S. stock markets traded mixed after the open. The Dow 30 dropped 0.23%, the S&P 500 slipped 0.08%, while the Nasdaq Compositeadvanced 0.13%.

Elsewhere, in the commodities market, gold futures traded at $1,252.15 a troy ounce, compared to $1,253.85 ahead of the data, while crude oil traded at $48.59 a barrel from $48.57 earlier.

Greenback little changed vs. loonie in early trade

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar was little changed against its Canadian counterpart on Wednesday, as rising oil prices lent support to the commodity-related Canadian currency, while upbeat U.S. consumer sentiment data released on Tuesday also boosted the greenback.

USD/CAD hit 1.3356 during early U.S. trade, the session low; the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.3389.

The pair was likely to find support at 1.3319, Monday’s low and resistance at 1.3415, Tuesday’s high.

The Canadian dollar was boosted by a rise in oil prices on Wednesday, following news of supply disruptions in Libya.

But the greenback’s losses were limited after the U.S. Consumer Board said on Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to a nearly 17-year high of 125.6 in March from 116.1 the previous month, far above expectations of a reading of 114.

The U.S. dollar also remained supported after Chicago Federal Bank President Charles Evans and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan on Monday suggested that the U.S. central bank will continue its monetary tightening cycle.

The loonie was higher against the euro, with EUR/CAD declining 0.55% to 1.4390.

Saudi Arabia stocks higher at close of trade; Tadawul All Share up 1.11%

Investing.com – Saudi Arabia stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Industrial Investment, Cement and Retail sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul All Share rose 1.11%.

The best performers of the session on the Tadawul All Share were Saudi Industrial Investment Group (SE:2250), which rose 9.84% or 1.90 points to trade at 21.20 at the close. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabian Cooperative Insurance (SE:8100) added 6.60% or 1.35 points to end at 21.80 and Saudi Int Petrochemical Co (SE:2310) was up 6.48% or 1.05 points to 17.25 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were National Agriculture Development Co (SE:6010), which fell 1.68% or 0.50 points to trade at 29.20 at the close. Al Hammadi Co (SE:4007) declined 1.41% or 0.60 points to end at 41.90 and Al-Jouf Agriculture Development Co (SE:6070) was down 1.27% or 0.40 points to 31.20.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange by 133 to 22 and 23 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for May delivery was up 0.21% or 0.10 to $48.47 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in June rose 0.33% or 0.17 to hit $51.59 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 0.22% or 2.75 to trade at $1252.85 a troy ounce.

EUR/SAR was down 0.54% to 4.0329, while USD/SAR rose 0.01% to 3.7505.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.36% at 99.89.

Oil higher as Libyan output disrupted, OPEC-led output cut extension mulled

Investing.com - Oil was higher Wednesday as armed protesters disrupted output in Libya.
U.S. crude was up 27 cents, or 0.56%, at $48.64 at 08:00 ET. Brent crude gained 31 cents, or 0.60%, to $51.73.
Investors are also mulling the chances of an extension of output cuts by major producers.
OPEC and non-OPEC producers are cutting output by 1.8 million barrels a day in the first half.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said Tuesday an extension of the cuts beyond June is likely.
American Petroleum Institute weekly data Tuesday showed a rise of 1.9 million barrels in U.S. crude stocks.
The Energy Information Administration is expected to report a 1.357 million barrels rise in crude inventories.

Dollar pushes higher vs. rivals, U.S. data ahead

Investing.com - The dollar pushed higher other major currencies on Wednesday, ahead of U.S. housing sector data, as the greenback still benefitted from the previous session’s strong U.S. consumer confidence data and as investors focused on the official beginning of the Brexit process.

EUR/USD dropped 0.56% to 1.0753, the lowest since March 21.

The dollar strengthened after the U.S. Consumer Board said on Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to a nerly 17-year high of 125.6 in March from 116.1 the previous month, far above expectations of a reading of 114.

The greenback was also boosted after Chicago Federal Bank President Charles Evans and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan on Monday suggested that the U.S. central bank will continue its monetary tightening cycle.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD edged up 0.12% to 1.2461, as investors awaited British Prime Minister Theresa May's move later on Wednesday to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and formally begin the two year process of withdrawing from the EU.

USD/JPY slid 0.32% to 110.79, while USD/CHF gained 0.43% to 0.9965.

The Australian dollar remained stronger, with AUD/USD up 0.21% at 0.7649 and with NZD/USD little changed at 0.7019.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD fell 0.13% to trade at 1.3367.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.33% at 99.86, the highest since March 21.

Euro looks set for renewed downturn on Brexit, technical factors

Investing.com – The euro looks set for a renewed modest downturn on technical factors and concerns surrounding Britain’s exit from the European Union.
The descending trend line points to a resumption of the long-term downward move.
The overbought stochastic reading also explained the spike in selling pressure on the euro on Tuesday.
The single currency touched the $1.09 level on Monday for the first time since mid-November.
The ABC wave seems to have run its course, which points to a renewal of an overall bearish trend until another correction is required.
The parabolic SAR indicator, which aims to the gauge short-term momentum of an asset, looks to be on the point of inverting to bearish from bullish.
The 100-day exponential moving average indicates support at the 50.0% Fibonacci level at $1.0695.
From a fundamental point of view, the single currency could also come under pressure as Britain begins negotiations on its departure from the European Union.

United Arab Emirates stocks mixed at close of trade; DFM General up 0.01%

Investing.com – United Arab Emirates stocks were mixed after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Transport, Services and Telecoms sectors led shares higher while losses in the Finance&Investment, Insurance and Banking sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Dubai, the DFM General gained 0.01%, while the ADX General index lost 0.76%.

The best performers of the session on the DFM General were Amlak Finance PJSC (DU:AMLK), which rose 2.80% or 0.030 points to trade at 1.100 at the close. Meanwhile, National Central Cooling Co. (DU:TABR) added 2.70% or 0.050 points to end at 1.900 and ARAMEX PJSC (DU:ARMX) was up 2.01% or 0.100 points to 5.080 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were SHUAA Capital PSC (DU:SHUA), which fell 2.78% or 0.050 points to trade at 1.750 at the close. Dubai Islamic Insurance Co. (DU:AMAN) declined 2.50% or 0.021 points to end at 0.818 and Gulf General Investments Company (DU:GGIC) was down 1.60% or 0.007 points to 0.431.

The top performers on the ADX General were Ad Shipbldg Co (AD:ADSB) which rose 7.72% to 2.930, Invest Bank AD (AD:INVB) which was up 6.09% to settle at 2.440 and Gulf Cement Co (AD:GCEM) which gained 5.00% to close at 1.0500.

The worst performers were National Bank of Fujairah PJSC (AD:NBF) which was down 7.98% to 3.00 in late trade, Aldar Properti (AD:ALDR) which lost 6.22% to settle at 2.260 and Rak Ceramics (AD:RKCE) which was down 4.55% to 2.100 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Dubai Stock Exchange by 18 to 14 and 9 ended unchanged; on the Abu Dhabi, 14 fell and 10 advanced, while 7 ended unchanged.

Shares in Gulf General Investments Company (DU:GGIC) fell to 52-week lows; losing 1.60% or 0.007 to 0.431. Shares in National Bank of Fujairah PJSC (AD:NBF) fell to 52-week lows; down 7.98% or 0.26 to 3.00. Shares in Aldar Properti (AD:ALDR) fell to 52-week lows; losing 6.22% or 0.150 to 2.260.

Crude oil for May delivery was up 0.45% or 0.22 to $48.59 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in June rose 0.54% or 0.28 to hit $51.70 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 0.26% or 3.25 to trade at $1252.35 a troy ounce.

USD/AED was unchanged 0.00% to 3.6729, while EUR/AED fell 0.21% to 3.9627.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.10% at 99.63.

Sri Lanka stocks higher at close of trade; CSE All-Share up 0.61%

Investing.com – Sri Lanka stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Trading, Information Technology and Healthcare sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Colombo, the CSE All-Share rose 0.61%.

The best performers of the session on the CSE All-Share were PC House PLC (CM:PCHO), which rose 100.00% or 0.100 points to trade at 0.200 at the close. Meanwhile, PC Pharma PLC (CM:PCPH) added 50.00% or 0.1000 points to end at 0.3000 and C W Mackie PLC (CM:CWM) was up 24.89% or 11.70 points to 58.70 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Hunas Falls Hotels PLC (CM:HUNA), which fell 12.71% or 6.10 points to trade at 41.90 at the close. Eden Hotel Lanka PLC (CM:EDEN) declined 9.09% or 1.00 points to end at 10.00 and Nuwara Eliya Hotels Co PLC (CM:NEH) was down 7.49% or 108.60 points to 1341.10.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Colombo Stock Exchange by 152 to 33 and 53 ended unchanged.

Shares in PC House PLC (CM:PCHO) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 100.00% or 0.100 to 0.200. Shares in Hunas Falls Hotels PLC (CM:HUNA) fell to 5-year lows; down 12.71% or 6.10 to 41.90. Shares in Eden Hotel Lanka PLC (CM:EDEN) fell to 5-year lows; losing 9.09% or 1.00 to 10.00.

Crude oil for May delivery was up 0.35% or 0.17 to $48.54 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in June rose 0.45% or 0.23 to hit $51.65 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 0.35% or 4.35 to trade at $1251.25 a troy ounce.

GBP/LKR was down 0.57% to 188.960, while USD/LKR rose 0.02% to 152.020.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.15% at 99.68.

Trump's U.S. border tax would pose risks to emerging markets - Fitch

Investing.com – The implementation of U.S. President Donald Trump’s border adjustment tax BATS poses risk to emerging markets as the dollar appreciates, Fitch Ratings warned in a report released Wednesday.

“The proposed introduction of a BAT to the U.S. corporate tax system could have sizeable adverse spill-overs to other countries,” the credit ratings agency said.

“It could raise the burden of U.S. dollar-denominated debt in EMs, precipitate strains on U.S. dollar-linked exchange rate regimes, worsen current account balances and GDP growth for major exporters to the U.S., reduce FDI inflows, and lead to a loss of tax revenues for countries that host U.S. multinationals,” Fitch enumerated in the report.

The agency indicated that it would expect a sharp appreciation in the greenback if the reform proposals were to become law, although it recognized that it was unclear whether these proposals will be approved, as they face opposition in the Senate, and the White House has so far been largely non-committal.

“An appreciation of the U.S. dollar would lead to a rise in debt/GDP ratios and debt service burdens of EMs with U.S. dollar-denominated debt on their balance sheets,” Fitch said.

According to the credit rating agency, Argentina, Turkey, Brazil and Indonesia have the highest sovereign and corporate sector US dollar-denominated debt (as a percent of GDP) among large EMs.

Fitch further indicated that countries with dollarized banking systems may see an increase in non-performing loans.

Fitch also warned that foreign exporters would lose cost competitiveness in the U.S. unless the dollar appreciated to fully offset the impact of the BATS on import costs.

“This would likely mean a fall in rest of the world (ROW) exports, slower GDP growth and some deterioration in current account balances,” these experts said.

“The US is the largest export market for 22 Fitch-rated sovereigns, with Mexico (81% of merchandise exports) and Canada (77%) the most exposed,” they added.

EC blocks Deutsche Boerse/LSE planned merger

Investing.com - The EC Wednesday blocked the planned $28 bn merger between Deutsche Boerse (DE:DB1Gn) and LSE.
The EC ruled the tie-up would have created a de facto monopoly for clearing fixed-interest instruments.
The planned merger group agreed to sell its French clearing house to Euronext to appease competition concerns.
But it balked at the idea of having to offload its Italian MTS bond trading platform.
The ruling came on the same day Britian is due to formally trigger talks on its divorce from the EU.

Indonesia stocks higher at close of trade; IDX Composite Index up 0.93%

Investing.com – Indonesia stocks were higher after the close on Wednesday, as gains in the Miscellaneous Industry, Agriculture and Basic Industry sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Jakarta, the IDX Composite Index added 0.93% to hit a new all time high.

The best performers of the session on the IDX Composite Index were Millennium Pharmacon International (JK:SDPC), which rose 34.23% or 38 points to trade at 149 at the close. Meanwhile, Atlas Resources Tbk (JK:ARII) added 24.50% or 74 points to end at 376 and Island Concepts Indonesia Tbk (JK:ICON) was up 24.35% or 56 points to 286 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Bintang Mitra Semestaraya Tbk (JK:BMSR), which fell 34.78% or 48.00 points to trade at 90.00 at the close. Tira Austenite Tbk (JK:TIRA) declined 22.92% or 66.00 points to end at 222.00 and Provident Agro Tbk (JK:PALM) was down 18.70% or 86 points to 374.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Jakarta Stock Exchange by 186 to 131 and 113 ended unchanged.

Shares in Millennium Pharmacon International (JK:SDPC) rose to 3-years highs; gaining 34.23% or 38 to 149.

Crude oil for May delivery was up 0.62% or 0.30 to $48.67 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in June rose 0.68% or 0.35 to hit $51.77 a barrel, while the April Gold Futures contract fell 0.27% or 3.45 to trade at $1252.15 a troy ounce.

USD/IDR was down 0.08% to 13305.2, while AUD/IDR rose 0.56% to 10249.00.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.11% at 99.64.

Philippines stocks lower at close of trade; PSEi Composite down 0.10%

Investing.com – Philippines stocks were lower after the close on Wednesday, as losses in the Banking&Financials, Mining&Oil and Industrials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Philippines, the PSEi Composite fell 0.10%.

The best performers of the session on the PSEi Composite were Jollibee Foods Corp (PS:JFC), which rose 3.01% or 5.50 points to trade at 188.00 at the close. Meanwhile, SM Investments Corp (PS:SM) added 1.98% or 13.50 points to end at 694.00 and Emperador Inc (PS:EMP) was up 1.62% or 0.096 points to 6.030 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Petron Corp (PS:PCOR), which fell 2.22% or 0.200 points to trade at 8.800 at the close. Alliance Global Group Inc (PS:AGI) declined 2.05% or 0.260 points to end at 12.440 and LT Group Inc (PS:LTG) was down 1.83% or 0.300 points to 16.100.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Philippines Stock Exchange by 105 to 82 and 45 ended unchanged.

Shares in Emperador Inc (PS:EMP) rose to 3-years lows; up 1.62% or 0.096 to 6.030.

Gold Futures for April delivery was down 0.44% or 5.55 to $1250.05 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in May rose 0.87% or 0.42 to hit $48.79 a barrel, while the June Brent oil contract rose 0.88% or 0.45 to trade at $51.87 a barrel.

CNY/PHP was down 0.14% to 7.2884, while USD/PHP fell 0.07% to 50.181.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.15% at 99.68.

Oil hits 1-week high ahead of U.S. supply data; Libyan output in focus

Investing.com - Oil prices edged higher on Wednesday, hitting a one-week high as investors looked ahead to weekly supply data from the U.S., while monitoring disruptions to Libyan crude production.

Optimism that an OPEC-led production cut deal will be extended through the end of the year further supported prices.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude May contract reached a session peak of $48.84 a barrel, the highest since March 21.

It was last at $48.80 by 4:00AM ET (08:00GMT), up 43 cents, or around 0.9%, after rising 64 cents on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for June delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London added 46 cents to $51.88 a barrel after gaining 52 cents in the prior session.

After markets closed Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute said that U.S. oil inventories rose by 1.9 million barrels in the week ended March 24.

The API report also showed a drop of 1.1 million barrels in gasoline stocks, while distillate stocks declined 2.0 million barrels.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration will release its official weekly oil supplies report at 10:30AM ET (14:30GMT) Wednesday. If the increase is confirmed, it would be the 12th weekly build in the past 14 weeks.

Oil has fallen sharply this month amid concern that the ongoing rebound in U.S. shale production could derail efforts by other major producers to rebalance global oil supply and demand.

OPEC agreed in November last year to curb its output by about 1.2 million barrels per day between January and June. Russia and 10 other non-OPEC producers have agreed to jointly cut by an additional 600,000 barrels per day.

In total, they agreed to reduce output by 1.8 million barrels per day to 32.5 million for the first six months of the year, but so far the move has had little impact on inventory levels.

Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh told reporters on Tuesday that a global oil cuts deal is likely to be extended, but that time is needed to discuss the subject thoroughly first.

A joint committee of ministers from OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers will meet in late April to present its recommendation on the fate of the pact. A final decision on whether or not to extend the deal beyond June will be taken by the oil cartel on May 25.

Meanwhile, armed factions at the western Libyan oil fields of Sharara and Wafa blocked production, reducing output by 252,000 barrels per day, or about a third of production, a source at the National Oil Corporation said on Tuesday.

Dollar moves higher, sterling lower before Brexit trigger

Investing.com - The dollar gained ground on Wednesday, pulling further away from the multi-month lows hit earlier in the week, while sterling slid lower as markets braced for Britain to trigger its exit from the European Union.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, ticked up 0.2% to 99.74.

The index plumbed 98.67 on Monday, its lowest since November 11 in the wake of President Donald Trump’s failed healthcare overhaul bill.

The dollar was boosted as investor focus shifted back to prospects for further U.S. interest rates hikes this year.

Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer said on Tuesday that two more rate hikes this year seemed "about right."

The Fed raised interest rates earlier this month and indicated that it saw two further hikes this year.

Expectations for higher interest rates received a boost after the Conference Board said its index of U.S. consumer confidence rose its highest since December 2000 this month.

The dollar was a touch lower against the safe haven yen, with USD/JPY at 111.05, holding above Monday’s trough of 110.10, the lowest since November 18.

The euro was weaker, with EUR/USD down 0.27% to 1.0784.

Sterling was also lower, with GBP/USD sliding 0.34% to 1.2403 as investors awaited British Prime Minister Theresa May's move later on Wednesday to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and formally begin the two year process of withdrawing from the EU.

The euro edged higher against the pound, with EUR/GBP ticking up 0.1% to 0.8691.

European stocks open higher with eyes on Brexit process; DAX up 0.62%

Investing.com - European stocks opened higher on Wednesday, as official Brexit negotiations were set to begin later in the day and as markets recovered from the Trump administration’s failure to replace Obamacare.

During European morning trade, the EURO STOXX 50 gained 0.48%, France’s CAC 40 climbed 0.48%, while Germany’s DAX 30 advanced 0.62%.

Markets recovered on Wednesday from the disappointment of President Donald Trump's failed health-care bill.

Elsewhere, the British government sent a letter to Brussels formally starting the country's exit from the European Union.

The letter was set to be delivered midday Wednesday to European Council President Donald Tusk. It will officially trigger the Brexit proceedings.

Financial stocks were broadly higher, as French lenders Societe Generale (PA:SOGN) and BNP Paribas (PA:BNPP) gained 0.88% and 1.20%, while Germany’s Detusche Bank and Commerzbank (DE:CBKG) surged 1.41% and 3%.

Among peripheral lenders, Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo (MI:ISP) and Unicredit (MI:CRDI) advanced 0.42% and 0.76% respectively, while Spanish banks BBVA (MC:BBVA) and Banco Santander (MC:SAN) rose 0.19% and 0.43%.

Elsewhere, Siemens AG (DE:SIEGn) rallied 1.12% after the German engineering group said it was committed for the long term to Britain and that it has no plans to leave London. The company employs more than 15,000 people in the U.K.

In London, commodity-heavy FTSE 100 rose 0.29%, boosted by sharp gains in the mining sector.

Shares in Glencore (LON:GLEN) advanced 0.75% and Rio Tinto (LON:RIO) jumped 1.18%, while rivals Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) and BHP Billiton (LON:BLT) rallied 1.50% and 2.10% respectively.

Financial stocks were also mostly on the upside, as Barclays (LON:BARC) edged up 0.11% and HSBC Holdings (LON:HSBA) climbed 0.56%, while the Royal Bank of Scotland (LON:RBS) climbed 0.99%. Lloyds Banking (LON:LLOY) underperformed however, with shares down 0.46%.

Meanwhile, Tui AG NA (LON:TUIT) saw shares tumble 1.23% even as the travel and tourism company reiterated its target of reaching at least 10% growth in underlying full-year operating profit, thanks to solid demand for Winter and Summer bookings.

Old Mutual PLC (LON:OML) was also on the downside, with shares down 0.41% after the investments giant said it is selling a £358 million stake in its asset management arm, in the latest stage of its plan to split itself up into four independent companies.

In the U.S., equity markets pointed to a higher open. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 0.14% rise, S&P 500 futures showed a 0.18% gain, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 0.22% increase.

German Import Price Index 0.7% vs. 0.3% forecast

Germany’s import price index fell less-than-expected in the last month, official data showed on Wednesday.

In a report, Destatis said that German Import Price Index fell to a seasonally adjusted 0.7%, from 0.9% in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected German Import Price Index to fall to 0.3% in the last month.

Crude trims gains in Asia as EIA data on inventories ahead

Investing.com - Crude prices trimmed earlier gain in Asia on Wednesday an output disruption in Libya and shrugged off a larger than expected build in U.S. inventories as estimated by an industry group and awaited official government figures later in the day.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange crude futures for May rose 0.25% to $48.49 a barrel, while on London's Intercontinental Exchange, Brent edged up 0.06% at $51.48 a barrel.

U.S. crude stocks rose a more than expected 1.91 million barrels, the American Petroleum Institute (API) said late Tuesday, with gasoline stocks down a less than expected 1.10 million barrels and distillates down a more than expected 2.04 million barrels.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release official data on inventories. Updated estimates of analyst expectations for inventories show expectations of a 1.357 million barrels build in crude, a 1.234 million barrels fall in distillates, and a 1.886 million drop in gasoline stocks.

Overnight, crude settled higher on Tuesday, after a severe disruption to Libyan oil supplies supported a rebound in oil prices while comments from officials suggesting OPEC could extend its current deal beyond June lifted sentiment.

Armed factions at the western Libyan oil fields of Sharara and Wafa blocked production, reducing output by 252,000 barrels per day (bpd), about a third of production, a source at the National Oil Corporation (NOC) said on Tuesday.

Elsewhere, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, said a global deal aimed at reducing the glut in supply is likely to be extended beyond June but that time is needed to discuss the subject.

In November last year, OPEC and other producers, including Russia agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day (bpd) in an effort to combat the oversupply issue that has pressured prices over the last two years.

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