US stocks ended Monday’s session essentially unchanged. Falling oil prices dragged energy shares down, while news of merger and acquisition deals in pharmaceutical industry helped push health-care stocks higher. The S&P 500 closed flat. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.1%, retreating from the record close of Friday. Nasdaq edged higher 0.1%, recording its ninth winning session in a row as Apple stocks rose 2.7% after it said it will invest $1.92 bn to build two data centers in Europe that will run 100% on renewable energy. According to the National Association of Realtors US home resales declined 4.9 % to their lowest level in nine months in January, indicating housing sector is still fragile. The US dollar index rose on Monday. Today at 16:00 CET Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies to the Senate Banking Committee. After dovish minutes from Fed’s January meeting showed that the Fed was in no hurry to start hiking interest rates investors are looking forward to the testimony to see if the Fed Chair is still considering raising interest rates at Fed's June meeting. At 15:00 CET the December Case-Shiller Home Price Index will be released in US, at 15:45 the February preliminary Services PMI and Composite PMI will be released by Markit. And at 16:00 CET Consumer Confidence index will be published by Conference Board.
European stocks moved sharply higher on Monday as investor optimism was bolstered by an agreement to extend Greece’s bailout. The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed at new 7-year record high. Eurozone finance ministers will be discussing today Greece’s list of reform proposals, which will then be reviewed by the European Commission, the ECB and the IMF. Euro is declining today against the dollar after retreating on Monday as Greek government delayed the submission of its reform suggestions until Tuesday morning. Today at 08:00 and 11:00 CET fourth quarter German GDP and January Euro-zone CPI will come out. The tentative outlook is neutral.
Nikkei is rising today while the investors are cautiously awaiting for Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s comments for clues on when the Fed may start raising the interest rates. The dollar is edging higher against the yen ahead of Janet Yellen’s testimony. With Japanese stocks trading at 15-year highs, an indication that the Fed is still on track for raising interest rates in June may result in a selloff.
Oil prices fell on Monday amid concerns about oversupply and strong dollar. The prices slid after Friday's data from Baker Hughes oil-services company showed a slowdown in the weekly decline in the number of rigs drilling for oil in the United States. Concerns about oversupply exacerbated as Libya’s largest oil field at Sarir and a key oil export terminal in eastern Libya resumed operations on Sunday. Also, over the weekend Union workers walked out of three more US refineries, with growing supplies of crude oil adding further pressure to oil prices as refineries deal with the expansion of the strike of workers.
Heating oil prices rose as the expansion of oil workers’ strike raised concerns over production levels for the petroleum products.
Gold prices declined on Monday as the creditors reached an agreement with Greece to extend the bailout for four additional months, conditional on Greece’s submission of reform proposals. The demand for dollar denominated gold decreased also as dollar continued strengthening on Monday.