|04 August, 2019

Sunday outlook: Oil gains, Wall Street sinks and dollar weakens

Major Gulf stock markets fell on Thursday after the US Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 25 basis points

Image used for illustrative purpose. oil steel pipe in group.

Image used for illustrative purpose. oil steel pipe in group.

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  • Oil gains about 3 percent
  • Dollar weakens as September rate cut bets mount
  • All 3 major U.S. stock indexes on track for worst weeks since December

Middle East Stocks

Major Gulf stock markets fell on Thursday after the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates by 25 basis points but, significantly, signalled the move may not mark the beginning of a long easing cycle.

Markets had been looking for the Fed to signal more cuts were coming. Banking shares were hard hit as the rate cuts are expected to take a toll on their margins.

Saudi's index was down 0.8 percent, with Samba Financial Group slumping 4.3 percent to its lowest level since Jan. 2

Dubai's index fell 0.6 percent, with Emirates NBD Bank slipping 0.4 percent.

In Abu Dhabi, the index dropped 1.7 percent in its biggest single-day loss since mid-May, dragged down by a 1.8% fall in the market heavyweight First Abu Dhabi Bank, and a 1 percent fall in Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank.

Qatar's index was down 1 percent as the Gulf's biggest lender Qatar National Bank shed 1% and Qatar Islamic Bank lost 2 percent.

Outside the Gulf, Egypt's blue-chip index defied the downward trend and closed 0.9 percent higher. Its largest lender Commercial International Bank acted as the biggest boost for the index, rising 2.3 percent.

Global Stocks

Wall Street extended its sell-off on Friday as renewed US-China trade jitters and a slowdown in job growth put all three major US stock indexes on pace for their worst week since December, Reuters reported.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 155.36 points, or 0.58 percent, to 26,428.06, the S&P 500 lost 24.58 points, or 0.83 percent, to 2,928.98 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 118.91 points, or 1.47 percent, to 7,992.21.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, eight were trading lower.

Oil Price

Oil prices gained about 3 percent on Friday a day after recording their biggest daily drop in several years on US President Donald Trump's vow to impose more tariffs on Chinese imports.

Brent crude futures for October delivery settled at $61.89 a barrel, up $1.39, or 2.30 percent. The global benchmark slid more than 7 percent on Thursday, the steepest daily drop in more than three years.

WTI crude futures for September delivery settled at $55.66 a barrel, rising $1.71, or 3.17 percent, after Thursday's nearly 8 percent plunge, the biggest loss in more than four years.

Currency

The dollar fell broadly on Friday as news of slower US employment growth in July and heightened US-China trade tensions fueled expectations that the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates again in September.

The pound, battered by the increasing likelihood that Britain will exit the European Union without a deal, came off a 30-month low, but had not turned positive in afternoon trade. It was last 0.2 percent lower on the day at $1.2103.

Against the dollar, the yen jumped to 106.84, its strongest since June 25, before paring gains to trade at 107.06.

The Chinese yuan slid over 0.7 percent to 6.95 per dollar in onshore trade and fell to 6.9756 in the offshore market.

(Writing by Seban Scaria, editing by Gerard Aoun Gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)


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