US stocks ended slightly higher on Monday continuing the advance spurred by Federal Reserve’s dovish meeting last week. The dollar strengthened after Presidents of San Francisco and Atlanta Feds John Williams and Dennis Lockhart said they would support a rate hike in April. Live dollar index data indicate the ICE US Dollar Index, a measure of the dollar’s value against a basket of six major currencies, rose 0.2% to 95.288. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 0.1% at 17623.87, recording the seventh gain in a row. The S&P 500 added 0.1% and settled at 2051.6 with telecommunications and health care stocks leading the gainers, up 0.6% and 0.5% respectively. Energy and materials sectors were down 0.5% despite higher oil prices. The existing home sales in February at 5.08 million annual rate were below expectations, declining 7.1% compared with previous month. The decline added to concerns about strength of housing market, while analysts note high valuations of stocks trading at 16 times trailing earnings when earnings are falling. The volume of shares traded in US exchanges was 6.2 billion, about 24% below the 20-day average. Today at 14:00 CET January Federal Housing Finance Agency House Price Index will be released. The tentative outlook is positive for the dollar. At 14:45: CET March preliminary Manufacturing PMI will be published, the outlook is positive. And at 15:00 CET March Richmond Manufacturing index will be published. The tentative outlook is negative.
European stocks closed lower on Monday with commodity shares retreating as metals prices steadied after reaching a four-month high in the previous session. The euro weakened against the dollar trading at $1.1249 late Monday in New York compared with $1.1268 Friday. The Stoxx Europe 600 closed down 0.26%. Mining shares dropped with Sweden’s Boliden AB sinking 5%, ArcelorMittal tumbling 4% and Anglo American PLC losing 1.1%. Germany’s DAX 30 closed down less than 0.1% at 9948.64, France’s CAC 40 lost 0.8% while the UK’s FTSE 100 finished 0.1% lower. Today at 10:00 CET March Ifo Business Climate, Current Assessment and Expectations Indexes will be released in Germany. The tentative outlook is positive. At 10:30 February Consumer Price Index will be released in UK. The tentative outlook is positive for Pound. At 11:00 CET February ZEW Economic Sentiment for Germany and euro-zone will be published. The tentative outlook is positive for euro.
Nikkei rallied 1.9% today closing at one week high as weaker yen supported exporters. Investors shrugged off the disappointing report Japan's manufacturing activity contracted in March for the first time in almost a year with new export orders down sharply: Manufacturing PMI declined to 49.1 in March from 50.1 in February. Sharp shares were down as much as 8% after reports that Taiwan's Foxconn is likely to reduce its capital injection into Sharp from an initial plan of 489 billion yen.
Oil futures prices are edging lower today after ending higher on Monday following a report from intelligence firm Genscape: data indicated US stockpiles at the crude storage hub of Cushing, Oklahoma fell by 570574 barrels last week. April WTI crude, which expired yesterday, rose 1.2% to $39.91 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Oil has been rising on expectations major oil producers will agree to output freeze, which will lead to tighter supply of crude. However, Baker Hughes reported on Friday that the number of active US oil drilling rigs increased by 1 to 387, the first rise this year. Further rise in active rig count or rising US crude production will be a bearish development for oil.