|25 October, 2018

Thursday outlook: Global stock markets drop sharply, oil prices retreat

Asian dropped in early trading on Thursday, tracking sharp sell-off in tech shares on Wall Street overnight. Middle East markets fell on Wednesday. More commentary on oil prices, currencies and precious metals

Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 27, 2018.

Traders work at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in Manhattan, New York, U.S., August 27, 2018.

REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
  • Asian shares drop tracking a sell-off on Wall Street
  • Most stock markets in the Middle East fell on Wednesday
  • Oil prices drop, tracking a retreat in global markets
  • Dollar retreats, gold adds gains

Global markets

Asian markets dropped in early trading on Thursday, tracking sharp sell-off in tech shares on Wall Street overnight.

The Dow fell 2.41 percent on Wednesday, the S&P 500 lost 3.09 percent, and the Nasdaq closed down 12.4 percent.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped about 2 percent. Tokyo's Topix index tumbled 3 percent, evaporating more than $155 billion in market value.

“Weak U.S. housing data, mixed corporate earnings results, trade war fears and concerns regarding a slowing global economy all contributed to the sell off,” Sydney-based Rivkin Securities said in a note to clients, according to a Reuters report.

“Investor sentiment remains cautious as we anticipate the reports of over 100 S&P 500 companies including Amazon, Alphabet and Comcast.”

Middle East markets

Saudi Arabia’s index dropped 0.5 percent on Wednesday.

Shares in National Commercial Bank (NCB) dropped 2.05 percent on Wednesday, despite the Saudi lender reporting a 15.4 percent rise in third quarter (Q3) net profit for the year 2018, which was in line with what analysts had expected.

Saudi Printing and Packaging reported a third-quarter net loss of 11.8 million riyals ($3.15 million) on Wednesday, against a loss of 4.6 million one year earlier, but the company's shares rose 5.8 percent as third-quarter sales increased.

Abu Dhabi's index fell 0.9 percent as First Abu Dhabi lost 1.8 percent and Abu Dhabi National Energy declined 7.8 percent.

The Dubai index was dragged down by its real estate stocks, falling 0.6 percent. Union Properties decreased 2 percent. The firm said its unit intends to subscribe to the capital increase of Egypt's Palm Hills Development.

Qatar’s index dropped 1.1 percent as Qatar Insurance lost 2.9 after brokerage EFG Hermes cut its target price on the stock to 43 riyals from 48.5 riyals.

Industries Qatar, which has risen 43.3 percent this year, slid 2.1 percent and Ooredoo shed 3.1 percent.

In Egypt, the main index dived 2.5 percent with 26 of its 30 stocks falling.

Kuwait’s index added 0.7 percent, Bahrain’s index dropped 0.4 percent, while Oman’s index edged up 0.1 percent.

Oil prices

Oil prices dropped following the sell-off in global stock markets.

Front-month Brent crude oil futures were at $75.42 a barrel at 0043 GMT, 75 cents, or 1 percent, below their last close.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $66.23 a barrel, 59 cents, or 0.9 percent, below their last settlement.

“Oil prices fell under extreme selling pressure ... as the steep selloff across stock markets fueled fears over a possible drop in oil demand growth,” Lukman Otunuga, analyst at futures brokerage FXTM, told Reuters.

Currencies

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies eased from near a nine-week peak to 96.267, while the euro shed 0.7 percent to $1.1397.

The dollar eased to 112 yen, as the Japanese currency is seen as a safe haven. 

Precious metals

Gold prices strengthened on lower equities and a softer dollar.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,236.43 an ounce at 0107 GMT, not far off Tuesday’s $1,239.68, the highest since July 17.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.6 percent at $1,238.50 an ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Shane Mcginley)

(Gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)


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