India stocks higher at close of trade; Nifty 50 up 0.42%

Investing.com – India stocks were higher after the close on Friday, as gains in the IT, Technology and Consumer Durables sectors led shares higher.

At the close in NSE, the Nifty 50 added 0.42%, while the BSE Sensex 30 index added 0.39%.

The best performers of the session on the Nifty 50 were Wipro Ltd (NS:WIPR), which rose 6.28% or 16.90 points to trade at 286.05 at the close. Meanwhile, Reliance Industries Ltd (NS:RELI) added 3.67% or 56.10 points to end at 1585.00 and Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd. (NS:ZEE) was up 3.17% or 17.10 points to 556.05 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Bharti Airtel Ltd. (NS:BRTI), which fell 2.02% or 8.50 points to trade at 411.30 at the close. Lupin Ltd (NS:LUPN) declined 1.99% or 23.15 points to end at 1142.90 and Indiabulls Housing Finance Ltd (NS:INBF) was down 1.84% or 21.30 points to 1137.45.

The top performers on the BSE Sensex 30 were Wipro Ltd (BO:WIPR) which rose 6.47% to 286.40, Reliance Industries Ltd (BO:RELI) which was up 3.76% to settle at 1586.20 and Coal India Ltd (BO:COAL) which gained 2.66% to close at 262.25.

The worst performers were Bharti Airtel Ltd (BO:BRTI) which was down 2.05% to 411.15 in late trade, Lupin Ltd (BO:LUPN) which lost 1.99% to settle at 1142.85 and Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd (BO:PGRD) which was down 1.85% to 214.90 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the India National Stock Exchange by 874 to 684 and 12 ended unchanged; on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1370 fell and 1245 advanced, while 127 ended unchanged.

Shares in Wipro Ltd (NS:WIPR) rose to 52-week highs; rising 6.28% or 16.90 to 286.05. Shares in Reliance Industries Ltd (NS:RELI) rose to 5-year highs; up 3.67% or 56.10 to 1585.00. Shares in Reliance Industries Ltd (BO:RELI) rose to all time highs; gaining 3.76% or 57.50 to 1586.20.

The India VIX, which measures the implied volatility of Nifty 50 options, was down 2.03% to 11.0850.

Gold Futures for August delivery was up 0.15% or 1.86 to $1247.36 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in September rose 0.04% or 0.02 to hit $46.94 a barrel, while the September Brent oil contract rose 0.14% or 0.07 to trade at $49.37 a barrel.

USD/INR was up 0.00% to 64.335, while EUR/INR rose 0.04% to 74.9207.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.14% at 93.95.

Top 5 things to watch today

Investing.com - Markets brace for big movers on U.S. earnings.
All eyes on political developments surrounding Trump-Russia investigation.
Euro hovers near 2-year high against dollar post-ECB.
Oil firm higher ahead of OPEC meeting, U.S. rig count.
Global stocks mixed near record highs.

Indonesia stocks lower at close of trade; IDX Composite Index down 1.03%

Investing.com – Indonesia stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Miscellaneous Industry, Manufacturing and Financials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Jakarta, the IDX Composite Index lost 1.03% to hit a new 1-month low.

The best performers of the session on the IDX Composite Index were Radana Bhaskara Finance Tbk (JK:HDFA), which rose 34.72% or 67 points to trade at 260 at the close. Meanwhile, Bhuwanatala Indah Permai Tbk (JK:BIPP) added 28.21% or 22 points to end at 100 and Marga Abhinaya Abadi Tbk PT (JK:MABA) was up 24.69% or 300 points to 1515 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Tiga Pilar Sejahtera Food Tbk (JK:AISA), which fell 24.92% or 400 points to trade at 1205 at the close. Nusantara Inti Corpora Tbk (JK:UNIT) declined 23.08% or 66.00 points to end at 220.00 and Tigaraksa Satria Tbk (JK:TGKA) was down 22.59% or 610 points to 2090.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Jakarta Stock Exchange by 213 to 121 and 122 ended unchanged.

Shares in Tiga Pilar Sejahtera Food Tbk (JK:AISA) fell to 52-week lows; losing 24.92% or 400 to 1205. Shares in Marga Abhinaya Abadi Tbk PT (JK:MABA) rose to all time highs; rising 24.69% or 300 to 1515. Shares in Tigaraksa Satria Tbk (JK:TGKA) fell to 52-week lows; falling 22.59% or 610 to 2090.

Crude oil for September delivery was up 0.43% or 0.20 to $47.12 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in September rose 0.53% or 0.26 to hit $49.56 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract rose 0.15% or 1.81 to trade at $1247.31 a troy ounce.

USD/IDR was down 0.01% to 13315.0, while AUD/IDR fell 0.54% to 10440.50.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.14% at 93.95.

Top 5 things to know in the market on Friday

Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Friday, July 21:

1. Markets brace for big movers on earnings

Markets prepared on Friday to price in some large moves in stocks from big name companies that reported after the prior day’s close.

Shares in Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) were up around 1.5% in pre-market trade as the computer giant produced late Thursday better-than-expected quarterly profit thanks to its fast-growing cloud business.

Visa Inc (NYSE:V) was also expected to see gains of around 1% as the blue-chip credit card company lifted its earnings forecast after beating profit estimates.

On the downside, eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) showed losses of 4% in pre-market trade Friday as its numbers came out largely in line with expectations and its guidance failed to impress.

Investors will also focus Friday on reports from General Electric (NYSE:GE) or Moody's (NYSE:MCO) scheduled for release before the opening bell even as markets brace for the following week, the busiest in the second quarter reporting season.

2. All eyes on political developments surrounding Trump-Russia investigation

Investors were keeping an eye on continuing investigations into allegations that Russia meddled with the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly expanding his investigations into possible money laundering by Paul Manafort, U.S. President Donald Trump's former campaign manager.

Trump has repeatedly denied allegations that he colluded with Russia, while The Wall Street Journal reported that Mueller may expand the investigation into the President’s private business.

The report came one day after Trump stated that investigating his personal finances would be crossing a red line.

The recent reports kept continuous downward pressure on the dollar as market players fretted over how the investigations would sidetrack the implementation of Trump’s fiscal and economic policies.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, slipped 0.11% to 93.98 by 5:56AM ET (9:56GMT).

3. Euro hovers near 2-year high against dollar post-ECB

Apart from weakness in the dollar from the political panorama stateside, the euro continued to be gain ground against the greenback after European Central Bank (ECB) president Mario Draghi hinted on Thursday that the euro zone monetary authority could begin discussions on tapering stimulus in the fall.

EUR/USD reached 1.1677 on Friday its highest level since August 2015 as markets took Draghi’s comments to mean that the ECB was slowly shifting towards taking a less dovish stance and beginning to consider a removal of policy accommodation.

ECB policymakers now see October as the most likely date to decide on the future of the ECB's asset purchases and consider December, an option flagged by staff, as too late, four sources with direct knowledge of the discussion told Reuters.

4. Oil moves higher ahead of OPEC meeting, U.S. rig count

Oil prices moved higher on Friday, with U.S. crude on track for weekly gains of 1%, as investors looked ahead to further data on U.S. drilling activity later in the session and waited for a gathering of oil producers at the beginning of next week.

The Joint OPEC/Non-OPEC Ministerial Monitoring Committee (JMMC), whose task is to monitor compliance with agreement to cut production, will likely not produce any official statements to change the current state of play in attempts to reduce the global supply glut when it gathers on Monday.

However, markets will pay close attention to any comments on the sidelines of the meeting amid speculation that Saudi Arabia is considering additional cuts in output while Libya and Nigeria may lose their exemption from the accord between major oil producers to cut production by 1.8 million barrels per day through March 2018.

Market participants will also eye the latest weekly data from Baker Hughes on U.S. drilling activity out later in the session.

Last Friday, the energy services company reported that U.S. drillers had added two oil rigs, which brought the total count up to 765, the most since April 2015, underlining concern that the ongoing rebound in U.S. shale production is derailing efforts by other major producers to rebalance the market.

U.S. crude oil futures gained 0.45% to $47.13 at 5:57AM ET (9:57GMT), while Brent oil traded up 0.49% to $49.54.

5. Global stocks show mixed trade near record highs

After the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both hit intraday records in the prior session, U.S. futures showed caution as investors would focus on reactions to earnings in a day with no major economic reports. At 5:57AM ET (9:57GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures slipped 0.06%, S&P 500 futures inched up 0.05% while the Nasdaq 100 futures dropped 0.04%.

European shares saw mixed trade on Friday as corporate earnings were insufficient to counteract the somber mood of the previous session when a stronger euro weighed heavily on exporters. At 5:58AM ET (9:58GMT), the European benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 lost 0.22%, Germany’s DAX lost 0.24%, while London's FTSE 100 advanced 0.11%.

Earlier, Asian equity markets were down across the board Friday, taking a breather from recent climbs. Japan’s Nikkei and China’s Shanghai Composite ended around 0.2% lower.

Euro holds at two-year highs vs. dollar after Draghi comments

Investing.com - The euro Friday held at two-year highs of above $1.16 against the dollar after comments by ECB chief Mario Draghi that were deemed hawkish.
The euro was up 0.11% at $1.1645 at 04:15 ET after hitting a high for the session of $1.1677.
That depressed the dollar index, which at one point fell below the 94 mark at levels last seen over a year ago.
The index was down 0.09% at 94.00 after a low of 93.84.
Draghi said Thursday the ECB had put off any discussion of a possible policy shift until the fall.
The ECB as widely expected left policy on hold and left open the possibility of increasing asset purchases if the situation so demanded.
The dollar fell back below the 112 mark against the yen as the BoJ signaled massive stimulus would remain in place.
The pound was steady below the $1.30 mark as the odds of a BoE rate hike dimmed.
The Aussie weakened against the dollar after dovish remarks by the RBA deputy governor.
Guy Debelle signaled the Australian central bank was in no hurry to raise rates.

Japan stocks lower at close of trade; Nikkei 225 down 0.22%

Investing.com – Japan stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the Shipbuilding, Marine Transport and Manufacturing sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.22%.

The best performers of the session on the Nikkei 225 were Yaskawa Electric Corp. (T:6506), which rose 10.04% or 256.0 points to trade at 2806.0 at the close. Meanwhile, Toshiba Corp. (T:6502) added 5.45% or 14.3 points to end at 276.9 and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. (T:6503) was up 4.66% or 76.6 points to 1720.8 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were TDK Corp. (T:6762), which fell 3.25% or 260.0 points to trade at 7730.0 at the close. Showa Denko K.K. (T:4004) declined 2.84% or 90.0 points to end at 3075.0 and Toho Zinc Co., Ltd. (T:5707) was down 2.35% or 11.0 points to 458.0.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 1665 to 1479 and 323 ended unchanged.

Shares in Yaskawa Electric Corp. (T:6506) rose to all time highs; gaining 10.04% or 256.0 to 2806.0.

The Nikkei Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Nikkei 225 options, was down 1.51% to 12.42 a new 5-year low.

Crude oil for September delivery was up 0.45% or 0.21 to $47.13 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in September rose 0.51% or 0.25 to hit $49.55 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract rose 0.11% or 1.39 to trade at $1246.89 a troy ounce.

USD/JPY was down 0.16% to 111.73, while EUR/JPY fell 0.05% to 130.12.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.10% at 93.99.

Taiwan stocks lower at close of trade; Taiwan Weighted down 0.60%

Investing.com – Taiwan stocks were lower after the close on Friday, as losses in the , Communication and Internet and Optoelectronic sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Taiwan, the Taiwan Weighted declined 0.60%.

The best performers of the session on the Taiwan Weighted were Sumagh High Tech Corp (TW:1475), which rose 8.38% or 2.10 points to trade at 27.15 at the close. Meanwhile, Taisun Enterprise Co Ltd (TW:1218) added 6.83% or 1.55 points to end at 24.25 and Nuvoton Technology Corp (TW:4919) was up 5.73% or 3.10 points to 57.20 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Jye Tai Precision Industrial Co Ltd (TW:6165), which fell 9.98% or 4.85 points to trade at 43.75 at the close. Right Way Industrial Co Ltd (TW:1506) declined 8.72% or 1.90 points to end at 19.90 and Biostar Microtech International Corp (TW:2399) was down 7.36% or 1.35 points to 17.00.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Taiwan Stock Exchange by 420 to 318 and 138 ended unchanged.

Shares in Sumagh High Tech Corp (TW:1475) rose to 3-years highs; rising 8.38% or 2.10 to 27.15. Shares in Taisun Enterprise Co Ltd (TW:1218) rose to all time highs; gaining 6.83% or 1.55 to 24.25. Shares in Nuvoton Technology Corp (TW:4919) rose to 5-year highs; rising 5.73% or 3.10 to 57.20.

Crude oil for September delivery was down 0.02% or 0.01 to $46.91 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in September fell 0.04% or 0.02 to hit $49.28 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract rose 0.03% or 0.33 to trade at $1245.83 a troy ounce.

USD/TWD was down 0.15% to 30.407, while TWD/CNY rose 0.22% to 0.2251.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.14% at 93.95.

Asian equity markets down Friday slowing rally

INVESTING.COM – Asian equity markets were down across the board Friday, taking a breather from recent climbs and after the European Central Bank took a dovish stance on policy and its ongoing stimulus program.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was down 0.19% at mid-morning to 26,690, with shares still hovering near highs not seen in two years. The market opened on an upbeat note Friday but reatreated shortly after on profit taking. Hong Kong has risen for the last nine days.

China's markets gave up some recent gains, falling for the first time in four days on prifit taking. The Shanghai Composite Index as down 0.21% to 3,238. The Shenzhen Composite Index was flat, up 0.02% to 1848.

In Japan, the Nikkei dropped 0.30% to 20,084 after morning trade. The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy steady on Thursday and suggested a near-term change in the stance was unlikely, saying "Risks to the economy and price outlook are skewed to the downside". The Bank of Japan’s monetary policy statement and interest rate decision was expected to offer comment on the pace of asset buying at ¥80 trillion annually and possibly hint of tapering.

Breaking the downwards trend were Korea, where the Kospi 50 was up just 0.06% to 2,145 and Singapore's FTSE Straits Times Index, which gained 0.32% to 3,303.

The region's smaller markets were mixed.

Thailand's SET Index was up 0.21% to 1,578. In the Philippines, the PSEi Index in the Philippines was down 0.60% to 7,857 days after the country's central bank predicted the first current account deficit for the year since 2003. The Jakarta Stock Exchange Composite Index was down 0.50% to 5,795.

Gold climbs after dovish ECB stance

Investing.com - Gold powered up to three-week highs overnight in Asia before flattening out during morning trade.

The catalyst for the spike was a unanimous decision by the European Central Bank not to change their guidance on monetary policy or discuss changes to an ongoing stimulus program for the time being. The dovish stance was not out of tune with the tone taken by the US federal Reserve.

The Gold futures for August delivery dropped very slightly by 0.07% to $1,244.57 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange by mid-morning in Asia but were still up more around $7 from a day earlier. At one point, gold rose as high as $1,247.48, the highest point in three weeks.

West Texas Intermediate crude for September delivery was virtually flat, giving up 0.06% to $46.89. Brent oil futures for September delivery gave up 0.06% to $49.27 by mid-morning.

US Dollar Index futures, which track the greenback against a basket of six currencies, were up 0.05% to $94.61, with the dollar struggling to gain traction but halting a plunge that has taken it to 10-month lows.

The plunge in the greenback was slowed down by expectations, fuelled last week by the testimoney of US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, that any monetary tightenting in the US would happen slowly and reports from China that suggested growth there is slightly ahead of target for the year.

Earlier this week, China released second quarter GDP growth with a gain of 1.7% that matched expectations and a year-on-year increase of 6.9% that came in slighltly higher than the expected 6.8%. At the same time, China reported industrial production gained 7.6% from a year earlier in June and retail sales rose 11% in June.

Last week, gold prices rose to two-week highs as political uncertainty in the U.S., which has extended to this week, made it more attractive as a safe haven against the falling dollar.

PBOC sets yuan parity at 6.7415 vs dollar

Investing.com - The People's Bank of China set the yuan mid-point at 6.7415 against the dollar on Friday, compared to the previous close of 6.7580.

The China Foreign Exchange Trade System sets the weighted average of prices given by market makers. The highest and lowest offers are excluded from the calculation. The central bank allows the dollar/yuan rate to move no more than 2% above or below the central parity rate.

Market watchers see a yuan level of 7 against the dollar, USD/CNY, as a key touchstone for sentiment in the near term.

The Day Ahead: Top 3 things to watch

Investing.com - Here’s a preview of the top 3 things that could rock markets tomorrow

General Electric earnings in the spotlight

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) reports second-quarter earnings before US markets open tomorrow, in what will be CEO Jeffrey Immelt’s last earnings call before passing the leadership baton to John Flannery, who currently heads GE’s healthcare decision.

Despite the change in leadership, some analysts expect General Electric to keep with its restructuring plans to consolidate certain business segments and focus on its core industrial operations.

Meanwhile the company’s massive backlog of orders, which rose to $324.3 billion in the last quarter is likely to come under scrutiny, as investors question when those products are likely to be delivered and become revenues for the company.

GE is expected to report earnings of $0.25 per share, on revenue of $29.12 billion

Canadian macro data on tap

USD/CAD could be the ‘one to watch’ on Friday, as Canadian inflation and retail sales data is expected to provide the loonie with fresh direction, following the Bank of Canada’s decision to hike its benchmark rate earlier this month.

Economists expect retail sales for May to show a decline to 0.3% from 1.5% in the prior month while the pace of inflation for June is expected to have declined by 0.2%.

On Wednesday, the oil-sensitive loonie touched its strongest since early May 2016 at C$1.2578, as bullish US crude inventory data pushed oil prices to settle at session highs.

Slowdown in US rigs to continue?

The weekly instalment of drilling activity from Baker Hughes on Friday, will be closely watched by investors, after the number of active drilling rigs has slowed in recent weeks.

The weekly rig count is an important barometer for the drilling industry and serves as a proxy for oil production and oil services demand.

At Thursday’s settlement price, crude futures remained on track to post a second-straight week of gains, ahead of Opec’s meeting on July 24.

Mexico stocks higher at close of trade; IPC up 0.13%

Investing.com – Mexico stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Healthcare, Industrials and Consumer Goods&Services sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Mexico, the IPC added 0.13%.

The best performers of the session on the IPC were Gruma SAB de CV (MX:GRUMAB), which rose 7.11% or 16.15 points to trade at 243.40 at the close. Meanwhile, Genomma Lab Internacional SAB De CV (MX:LABB) added 2.39% or 0.560 points to end at 23.960 and Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico SAB De CV (MX:SANMEXB) was up 2.23% or 0.810 points to 37.150 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Grupo LALA SA de CV (MX:LALAB), which fell 3.44% or 1.24 points to trade at 34.84 at the close. Banregio Grupo Financiero SAB De CV (MX:GFREGIOO) declined 2.35% or 2.77 points to end at 115.16 and VOLARIS A (MX:VOLARA) was down 1.32% or 0.36 points to 26.90.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Mexico Stock Exchange by 118 to 108 and 9 ended unchanged.

Shares in Grupo Financiero Santander Mexico SAB De CV (MX:SANMEXB) rose to 52-week highs; rising 2.23% or 0.810 to 37.150.

Gold Futures for August delivery was up 0.10% or 1.23 to $1243.23 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in September fell 0.78% or 0.37 to hit $46.95 a barrel, while the September Brent oil contract fell 0.72% or 0.36 to trade at $49.34 a barrel.

USD/MXN was down 0.34% to 17.4962, while EUR/MXN rose 0.68% to 20.3516.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.60% at 94.07.

U.S. stocks mixed at close of trade; Dow Jones Industrial Average down 0.13%

Investing.com – U.S. stocks were mixed after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Telecoms, Utilities and Healthcare sectors led shares higher while losses in the Basic Materials, Oil&Gas and Industrials sectors led shares lower.

At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.13%, while the S&P 500 index fell 0.02%, and the NASDAQ Composite index added 0.08%.

The best performers of the session on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were Nike Inc (NYSE:NKE), which rose 2.30% or 1.33 points to trade at 59.10 at the close. Meanwhile, Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ) added 1.77% or 0.77 points to end at 44.22 and UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) was up 1.22% or 2.31 points to 191.50 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Home Depot Inc (NYSE:HD), which fell 4.09% or 6.27 points to trade at 147.03 at the close. The Travelers Companies Inc (NYSE:TRV) declined 1.49% or 1.89 points to end at 124.57 and General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) was down 0.93% or 0.25 points to 26.69.

The top performers on the S&P 500 were Kinder Morgan Inc (NYSE:KMI) which rose 4.52% to 20.56, Frontier Communications Corp (NASDAQ:FTR) which was up 4.34% to settle at 14.91 and Mallinckrodt (NYSE:MNK) which gained 4.10% to close at 46.71.

The worst performers were Alliance Data Systems Corporation (NYSE:ADS) which was down 9.45% to 238.62 in late trade, PPG Industries Inc (NYSE:PPG) which lost 6.06% to settle at 106.72 and Lowe’s Companies Inc (NYSE:LOW) which was down 5.56% to 72.56 at the close.

The top performers on the NASDAQ Composite were Eco Stim Energy Solutions Inc (NASDAQ:ESES) which rose 28.24% to 1.680, Sarepta Therapeutics Inc (NASDAQ:SRPT) which was up 20.10% to settle at 40.930 and AEterna Zentaris Inc (NASDAQ:AEZS) which gained 19.66% to close at 2.800.

The worst performers were Ominto Inc (NASDAQ:OMNT) which was down 16.99% to 6.5000 in late trade, A Schulman Inc (NASDAQ:SHLM) which lost 16.72% to settle at 25.90 and ESSA Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:EPIX) which was down 16.64% to 0.250 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the New York Stock Exchange by 1549 to 1529 and 167 ended unchanged; on the Nasdaq Stock Exchange, 1263 rose and 1165 declined, while 175 ended unchanged.

Shares in UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH) rose to all time highs; up 1.22% or 2.31 to 191.50. Shares in ESSA Pharma Inc (NASDAQ:EPIX) fell to all time lows; losing 16.64% or 0.050 to 0.250.

The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was down 2.55% to 9.54.

Gold Futures for August delivery was up 0.10% or 1.23 to $1243.23 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in September fell 0.85% or 0.40 to hit $46.92 a barrel, while the September Brent oil contract fell 0.78% or 0.39 to trade at $49.31 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 1.01% to 1.1630, while USD/JPY fell 0.02% to 111.92.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.58% at 94.09.

Dollar at 13-month lows amid euro surge to near 2-year highs

Investing.com – The dollar slumped to a thirteenth-month low against a basket of global currencies on Thursday, following a surge in the euro after European Central Bank president Mario Draghi said policymakers would discuss changes to its bond-buying scheme in September.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, fell by 0.59% to 94.05.

Investor expectations grew that the European Central Bank (ECB) is moving closer to tapering its bond-buying programme, after Draghi said the central bank saw signs of “unquestionable improvement” in the euro zone growth and indicated that policymakers would discuss changes to the bank’s ultra-loose monetary policy in September.

"We were unanimous in setting no precise date for when to discuss changes in the future," Draghi told a press conference in Frankfurt, Germany. "We simply said that our discussions should take place in the autumn."

The euro jumped to near-two-year-highs of $1.1658 against the dollar, on the back of Draghi’s comments and remained on track to notch a five-month winning streak.

The single currency also made significant gains against sterling, with EUR/GBP rising to a seventh month high of £0.8961.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD fell to $1.2975, paring some of its recent gains against the greenback, despite UK retail sales data topping expectations.

Retail sales rose by 1.5% in the three months to the end of June, bouncing back from the 1.4% slide in sales sustained over the first three months of the year.

USD/CAD traded at $1.2571, down 0.27%, as a dip in oil prices failed to pressure the oil-sensitive Canadian dollar.

USD/JPY fell to Y111.77, down 0.15%, despite the Bank of Japan’s decision to maintain its current loose monetary policy measures.

Portugal stocks higher at close of trade; PSI 20 up 0.23%

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

At the close in Lisbon, the PSI 20 added 0.23%.

The best performers of the session on the PSI 20 were Banco Comercial Portugues (LS:BCP), which rose 1.95% or 0.0048 points to trade at 0.2510 at the close. Meanwhile, The Navigator Company SA (LS:NVGR) added 1.05% or 0.0390 points to end at 3.7700 and REN (LS:RENE) was up 0.80% or 0.0220 points to 2.7610 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Pharol SGPS SA (LS:PHRA), which fell 1.76% or 0.0060 points to trade at 0.3350 at the close. Semapa (LS:SEM) declined 1.46% or 0.2550 points to end at 17.1950 and Nos SGPS SA (LS:NOS) was down 0.70% or 0.0380 points to 5.4210.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Lisbon Stock Exchange by 19 to 16 and 8 ended unchanged.

Brent oil for September delivery was down 0.22% or 0.11 to $49.59 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in September fell 0.40% or 0.19 to hit $47.13 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract rose 0.29% or 3.64 to trade at $1245.64 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 1.02% to 1.1631, while EUR/GBP rose 1.45% to 0.8969.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.61% at 94.06.

Russia stocks lower at close of trade; MICEX down 0.28%

Investing.com – Russia stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Mining, Power and Oil&Gas sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Moscow, the MICEX declined 0.28%.

The best performers of the session on the MICEX were VTB (MCX:VTBR), which rose 1.25% or 0.0008 points to trade at 0.0649 at the close. Meanwhile, MTS (MCX:MTSS) added 0.97% or 2.25 points to end at 233.25 and Aeroflot (MCX:AFLT) was up 0.94% or 2.00 points to 214.70 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Gruppa LSR PAO (MCX:LSRG), which fell 3.74% or 31.0 points to trade at 797.0 at the close. MMC Norilsk Nickel (MCX:GMKN) declined 3.26% or 283.0 points to end at 8410.0 and NLMK ao (MCX:NLMK) was down 2.29% or 2.90 points to 123.85.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Moscow Stock Exchange by 105 to 98 and 19 ended unchanged.

The Russian VIX, which measures the implied volatility of MICEX options, was down 3.88% to 21.050.

Gold Futures for August delivery was up 0.31% or 3.85 to $1245.85 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in September fell 0.38% or 0.18 to hit $47.14 a barrel, while the September Brent oil contract fell 0.22% or 0.11 to trade at $49.59 a barrel.

USD/RUB was down 0.25% to 58.8471, while EUR/RUB rose 0.65% to 68.4710.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.61% at 94.06.

Netherlands stocks higher at close of trade; AEX up 0.39%

Investing.com – Netherlands stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Technology, Financials and Telecoms sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Amsterdam, the AEX rose 0.39% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the AEX were Galapagos NV (AS:GLPG), which rose 4.95% or 3.190 points to trade at 67.690 at the close. Meanwhile, ASML Holding NV (AS:ASML) added 1.77% or 2.30 points to end at 132.10 and NN Group NV (AS:NN) was up 1.69% or 0.56 points to 33.97 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were ArcelorMittal SA (AS:MT), which fell 1.97% or 0.445 points to trade at 22.090 at the close. Koninklijke Philips NV (AS:PHG) declined 0.82% or 0.26 points to end at 31.35 and Aalberts Industries NV (AS:AALB) was down 0.52% or 0.18 points to 35.73.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Amsterdam Stock Exchange by 77 to 49 and 11 ended unchanged.

Shares in ASML Holding NV (AS:ASML) rose to all time highs; gaining 1.77% or 2.30 to 132.10. Shares in NN Group NV (AS:NN) rose to all time highs; rising 1.69% or 0.56 to 33.97.

The AEX Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of AEX options, was down 0.12% to 11.20.

Crude oil for September delivery was down 0.34% or 0.16 to $47.16 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in September fell 0.22% or 0.11 to hit $49.59 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract rose 0.31% or 3.84 to trade at $1245.84 a troy ounce.

EUR/USD was up 1.03% to 1.1633, while EUR/GBP rose 1.46% to 0.8970.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.61% at 94.06.

Spain stocks lower at close of trade; IBEX 35 down 0.22%

Investing.com – Spain stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Consumer Services, Chemical, Petroleum&Plastic and Building&Construction sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Madrid, the IBEX 35 lost 0.22%.

The best performers of the session on the IBEX 35 were Caixabank SA (MC:CABK), which rose 1.21% or 0.051 points to trade at 4.250 at the close. Meanwhile, Banco Santander (MC:SAN) added 1.15% or 0.065 points to end at 5.720 and Distribuidora Intl de Aliment (MC:DIDA) was up 1.14% or 0.059 points to 5.224 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (MC:ICAG), which fell 5.20% or 0.364 points to trade at 6.642 at the close. Aena Aeropuertos SA (MC:AENA) declined 2.50% or 4.30 points to end at 167.65 and ArcelorMittal SA (MC:MTS) was down 2.17% or 0.490 points to 22.070.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Madrid Stock Exchange by 108 to 65 and 17 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for August delivery was up 0.30% or 3.74 to $1245.74 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in September fell 0.34% or 0.16 to hit $47.16 a barrel, while the September Brent oil contract fell 0.16% or 0.08 to trade at $49.62 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 1.02% to 1.1631, while EUR/GBP rose 1.47% to 0.8971.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.61% at 94.06.

Belgium stocks lower at close of trade; BEL 20 down 0.02%

Investing.com – Belgium stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Basic Materials, Utilities and Consumer Goods sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Brussels, the BEL 20 lost 0.02%.

The best performers of the session on the BEL 20 were Galapagos NV (AS:GLPG), which rose 4.95% or 3.190 points to trade at 67.690 at the close. Meanwhile, Aperam SA (AS:APAM) added 1.09% or 0.47 points to end at 43.06 and KBC (BR:KBC) was up 0.58% or 0.390 points to 67.660 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Engie SA (PA:ENGIE), which fell 1.10% or 0.15 points to trade at 13.45 at the close. bpost NV (BR:BPOST) declined 1.05% or 0.23 points to end at 21.59 and Umicore NV (BR:UMI) was down 0.96% or 0.64 points to 65.90.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Brussels Stock Exchange by 57 to 45 and 17 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for August delivery was up 0.32% or 4.01 to $1246.01 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in September fell 0.42% or 0.20 to hit $47.12 a barrel, while the September Brent oil contract fell 0.28% or 0.14 to trade at $49.56 a barrel.

EUR/USD was up 1.03% to 1.1633, while EUR/GBP rose 1.49% to 0.8973.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.61% at 94.06.

U.K. stocks higher at close of trade; Investing.com United Kingdom 100 up 0.80%

Investing.com – U.K. stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Tobacco, Fixed Line Telecommunications and Oil&Gas Producers sectors led shares higher.

At the close in London, the Investing.com United Kingdom 100 gained 0.80% to hit a new 1-month high.

The best performers of the session on the Investing.com United Kingdom 100 were Ashtead Group PLC (LON:AHT), which rose 3.07% or 51.00 points to trade at 1710.00 at the close. Meanwhile, Provident Financial (LON:PFG) added 3.06% or 71.00 points to end at 2390.00 and Next PLC (LON:NXT) was up 2.80% or 103.00 points to 3783.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were EasyJet PLC (LON:EZJ), which fell 5.92% or 84.00 points to trade at 1334.00 at the close. International Consolidated Airlines Group S.A. (LON:ICAG) declined 3.88% or 24.00 points to end at 595.00 and Anglo American PLC (LON:AAL) was down 2.87% or 32.50 points to 1100.50.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the London Stock Exchange by 1020 to 878 and 441 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for August delivery was up 0.32% or 4.01 to $1246.01 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in September fell 0.57% or 0.27 to hit $47.05 a barrel, while the September Brent oil contract fell 0.44% or 0.22 to trade at $49.48 a barrel.

GBP/USD was down 0.45% to 1.2965, while EUR/GBP rose 1.49% to 0.8973.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.62% at 94.05.

Poland stocks lower at close of trade; WIG30 down 0.44%

Investing.com – Poland stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Information Technology, Basic Materials and Oil&Gas sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Warsaw, the WIG30 lost 0.44%.

The best performers of the session on the WIG30 were Energa SA (WA:ENGP), which rose 5.14% or 0.57 points to trade at 11.65 at the close. Meanwhile, CD Projekt SA (WA:CDR) added 3.95% or 3.29 points to end at 86.49 and Cyfrowy Polsat SA (WA:CPS) was up 2.25% or 0.58 points to 26.38 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Asseco Poland SA (WA:ACPP), which fell 3.39% or 1.60 points to trade at 45.63 at the close. PGE Polska Grupa Energetyczna SA (WA:PGE) declined 2.44% or 0.32 points to end at 12.79 and Eurocash SA (WA:EUR) was down 2.43% or 0.82 points to 32.98.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Warsaw Stock Exchange by 266 to 226 and 185 ended unchanged.

Shares in Energa SA (WA:ENGP) rose to 52-week highs; up 5.14% or 0.57 to 11.65. Shares in Asseco Poland SA (WA:ACPP) fell to 52-week lows; falling 3.39% or 1.60 to 45.63. Shares in CD Projekt SA (WA:CDR) rose to all time highs; up 3.95% or 3.29 to 86.49.

Crude oil for September delivery was down 0.66% or 0.31 to $47.01 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in September fell 0.52% or 0.26 to hit $49.44 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract rose 0.35% or 4.36 to trade at $1246.36 a troy ounce.

EUR/PLN was up 0.08% to 4.2117, while USD/PLN fell 1.00% to 3.6183.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.67% at 94.01.

Turkey stocks lower at close of trade; BIST 100 down 0.63%

Investing.com – Turkey stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Technology, Transport and Banking sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Istanbul, the BIST 100 declined 0.63%.

The best performers of the session on the BIST 100 were Tesco Kipa Kitle Pazarlama Ticaret Lojistik ve Gida Sanayi AS (IS:KIPA), which rose 9.15% or 0.280 points to trade at 3.340 at the close. Meanwhile, Koza Anadolu Metal Madencilik Isletmeleri AS (IS:KOZAA) added 6.78% or 0.270 points to end at 4.250 and ODAS Elektrik Uretim Sanayi Ticaret AS (IS:ODAS) was up 4.60% or 0.250 points to 5.690 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Aselsan Elektronik Sanayi ve Ticaret AS (IS:ASELS), which fell 3.50% or 0.84 points to trade at 23.14 at the close. Netas Telekomunikasyon AS (IS:NETAS) declined 2.76% or 0.39 points to end at 13.75 and SASA Polyester Sanayi AS (IS:SASA) was down 2.49% or 0.190 points to 7.440.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Istanbul Stock Exchange by 234 to 121 and 54 ended unchanged.

Shares in Tesco Kipa Kitle Pazarlama Ticaret Lojistik ve Gida Sanayi AS (IS:KIPA) rose to 52-week highs; up 9.15% or 0.280 to 3.340. Shares in Koza Anadolu Metal Madencilik Isletmeleri AS (IS:KOZAA) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 6.78% or 0.270 to 4.250.

Gold Futures for August delivery was up 0.30% or 3.73 to $1245.73 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in September fell 0.55% or 0.26 to hit $47.06 a barrel, while the September Brent oil contract fell 0.38% or 0.19 to trade at $49.51 a barrel.

USD/TRY was up 0.13% to 3.5262, while EUR/TRY rose 1.24% to 4.1067.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.63% at 94.04.

Euro jumps after ECB holds, Draghi comments

Investing.com - The euro rose to levels seen in over a year as the European Central Bank as widely expected left its monetary policy on hold.
In remarks to journalists, ECB President Mario Draghi said the bank's Governing Council put off any discussion of the options for a possible shift in monetary policy until the fall.
The euro was up 0.43% at $1.1564 at 10:00 ET after hitting a high of $1.1574, the highest level since early May of last year.
"We have to have all of the available information," Draghi said.
He said the timing of any discussion of a shift in policy has "deliberately been kept open."
Investors had been looking for any guidance on the possible tapering of the ECB's asset purchases.
Asset purchases will remain at €60 bn a month for the rest of the year. The ECB retained the option of extending the size and duration of quantitative easing in its forward guidance.
The ECB's key lending rate was kept at 0.0%, the deposit rate at minus -0.4%.
Draghi said the risks to the euro-zone economy remain balanced, with inflation still well below the bank's medium-term target of close to but below 2% on a self-sustaining basis.
The dollar index gave up earlier gains and was down 0.16% at 94.48 after a high for the session of 94.98.
Initial weekly jobless claims fell 15,000 to 233,000, the lowest level in nearly five months. Claims were forecast to fall to 245,000.
The Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index fell to 19.5 in July from 27.6 the previous month when it was forecast to fall to 24.0.

Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 35 up 0.18%

Investing.com – Israel stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Insurance, Financials and Biomed sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Tel Aviv, the TA 35 added 0.18%.

The best performers of the session on the TA 35 were Mylan NV (TA:MYL), which rose 3.31% or 450 points to trade at 14050 at the close. Meanwhile, Perrigo (TA:PRGO) added 2.35% or 610 points to end at 26530 and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TA:TEVA) was up 2.11% or 240 points to 11590 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Azrieli Group Ltd (TA:AZRG), which fell 2.15% or 430 points to trade at 19570 at the close. Airport City Ltd (TA:ARPT) declined 2.06% or 100 points to end at 4757 and Alony Hetz Properties and Investments Ltd (TA:ALHE) was down 1.48% or 53 points to 3520.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 203 to 198 and 22 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for September delivery was up 0.27% or 0.13 to $47.45 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in September rose 0.40% or 0.20 to hit $49.90 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract rose 0.27% or 3.34 to trade at $1245.34 a troy ounce.

USD/ILS was down 0.40% to 3.5543, while EUR/ILS rose 0.62% to 4.1354.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.64% at 94.03.

Euro gains as Draghi flags fall discussion on tapering

Investing.com - The euro bounced up from the day’s lows against the U.S. dollar on Thursday after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said discussions on the future of the bank’s asset purchase program would take place in the fall.

EUR/USD was up 0.43% to 1.1564 by 09.56 a.m. ET (01.56 p.m. GMT), nearing Wednesday’s 14-month highs of 1.1582. It fell to a low of 1.1479 earlier.

Speaking at the ECB’s post policy meeting press conference, Draghi said the governing council was “unanimous in setting no precise date on when to discuss changes in the future,” before adding that discussions should take place in the autumn.

Draghi said the risks to the growth outlook in the euro zone are broadly balanced and the region is now enjoying a “robust” recovery.

The global recovery should support trade and boost euro zone exports, he said.

He also noted that growth has not yet translated into "stronger inflation dynamics", pointing out that headline inflation is being dampened by weak energy prices.

Draghi added that a "substantial degree of accommodation" is still needed.

Earlier Thursday the ECB decided to keep the key interest rates unchanged, and said it expects them to remain at their present levels for an extended period of time and well past the horizon of the net asset purchases.

The ECB expects to keep buying €60 billion of new assets each month until December, or beyond, if necessary, until the Governing Council sees a sustained adjustment in the path of inflation consistent with its inflation aims, the bank said in a statement.

The euro extended early gains against the pound, with EUR/GBP advancing 0.83% to 0.8912.

The single currency was also higher against the yen, with EUR/JPY advancing 0.56% to 129.63.

The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy on hold overnight and pushed back the timeline for hitting its inflation target.

The warning on inflation reinforced expectations that the BoJ will lag other central banks in tightening monetary policy.

Saudi Arabia stocks higher at close of trade; Tadawul All Share up 0.44%

Investing.com – Saudi Arabia stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Media&Publishing, Retail and Transport sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul All Share added 0.44%.

The best performers of the session on the Tadawul All Share were Malath Cooperative Insurance Co (SE:8020), which rose 6.47% or 1.44 points to trade at 23.68 at the close. Meanwhile, Tihama Advertising&Public Relations (SE:4070) added 5.82% or 2.05 points to end at 37.25 and Saudi Transport&Investment Co (SE:4110) was up 5.70% or 3.20 points to 59.30 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Alujain Corporation (SE:2170), which fell 2.11% or 0.50 points to trade at 23.20 at the close. AL JOUF CEMENT COMPANY (SE:3091) declined 1.83% or 0.14 points to end at 7.53 and Emaar The Economic City (SE:4220) was down 1.28% or 0.20 points to 15.40.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange by 110 to 53 and 16 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for September delivery was up 0.61% or 0.29 to $47.61 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in September rose 0.66% or 0.33 to hit $50.03 a barrel, while the August Gold Futures contract fell 0.05% or 0.57 to trade at $1241.43 a troy ounce.

EUR/SAR was up 0.30% to 4.3312, while USD/SAR rose 0.03% to 3.7506.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.08% at 94.56.

Philip Morris lowers full-year EPS forecast after missing Q2 estimate

Investing.com - (NYSE:Philip Morris) Thursday lowered its full-year earnings guidance after second-quarter results missed.
The cigarette giant said it now expects full year diluted earnings per share in a range of $4.78-$4.93.
Its previous guidance was for $4.84-$4.99.
Second-quarter adjusted, diluted EPS came in at $1.14, down 0.9% from a year earlier.
The consensus forecast was for second quarter EPS of $1.23.
Reported net revenues were up 1.5% from a year earlier at $19.32 billion

Oil holds onto gains after U.S. crude stock draw

Investing.com - Oil was steady Thursday after big gains overnight on a larger-than-expected draw in U.S. crude stocks.
U.S. crude was up 23 cents, or 0.49%, at $47.55 at 08:00 ET. Brent added 28 cents, or 0.56%, to $49.98.
The focus turned to the global supply glut as OPEC output increased in June despite an accord to curb production.
OPEC and non-OPEC producers have agreed to cut output by 1.8 million barrels a day through to March.
OPEC and non-OPEC producers are due to hold a meeting in Russia later this week to discuss the current market situation.
The Energy Information Administration Wednesday reported a fall in U.S. crude inventories of about 4.7 million.
The EIA was forecast to report a fall of about 3.2 million barrels.
Gasoline inventories also fell more than expected.

Oil pushes higher; Brent hits $50 for first time since early June

Investing.com - Oil prices were higher in North American trade on Thursday, with Brent futures hitting the $50-level for the first time in around six weeks.

Brent oil for September delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London tacked on 29 cents, or around 0.6%, to $49.98 a barrel by 8:15AM ET (1215GMT). It touched its highest since June 7 at $50.05 earlier.

Elsewhere, the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude September contract was at $47.55 a barrel, up 23 cents, or about 0.5%, after rising to a six-week peak of $47.61 earlier in the session.

Oil prices finished higher for the second session in a row on Wednesday, after data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed a large drop in domestic crude and gasoline supplies.

U.S. oil inventories fell by 4.7 million barrels at the end of last week to 490.6 million barrels, more than the expected drop of around 3.2 million barrels.

The report also showed that gasoline inventories decreased by 4.4 million barrels, compared to expectations for a much more modest decline of 0.7 million barrels.

Despite recent gains, concerns over rising global supplies remained on investors' minds.

A ministerial committee from OPEC and non-OPEC countries, which is headed by Gulf OPEC member Kuwait, will meet in Russia on July 24 to discuss compliance with the cartel's deal to cut production.

In May, OPEC and some non-OPEC producers extended an agreement to slash 1.8 million barrels per day in supply until March 2018. So far, the agreement has had little impact on global inventory levels due to rising supply from producers not participating in the accord, such as Libya and Nigeria.

Elsewhere on Nymex, gasoline futures for August was up around half a cent to $1.620 a gallon, while August heating oil added 0.9 cents to $1.560 a gallon.

Natural gas futures for August delivery tacked on 0.5 cents to $3.071 per million British thermal units, as traders looked ahead to weekly storage data due later in the global day.

Weekly Comic: Nothing can stop the Nasdaq bulls this week

Investing.com - Surging technology stocks have powered the Nasdaq Composite to nine straight days of gains leading up to Thursday, its longest winning streak since a 10-day run that ended in February 2015.

The index has risen to new all-time highs twice already this week.

The nine-day rally added about 5% to the Nasdaq's value, which puts it up almost 19% for the year so far.

Investors have flocked to the big-name tech companies like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB), Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL), the so-called "FAANG" stocks, whose shares keep rising in value. Facebook and Netflix are both up more than 40% this year.

Other market darlings like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) and NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA), are also sharply higher year-to-date.

The impressive rally raises questions: Can tech stocks keep rising?

To see more of Investing.com’s weekly comics, visit: http://www.investing.com/analysis/comics

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