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|26 December, 2018

Wednesday outlook: Global markets, oil prices trade lower

Asian shares dropped on Wednesday, tracking a retreat on Wall Street on Monday. Middle East markets closed mostly lower on Tuesday, Dubai's index was the sole gainer. More commentary on oil prices, currencies and precious metals.

A man (R) cleans electronic boards showing the Japan's Nikkei average, the exchange rate between Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar and stock quotation outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Issei Kato - RTSDRFU

A man (R) cleans electronic boards showing the Japan's Nikkei average, the exchange rate between Japanese yen against the U.S. dollar and stock quotation outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, April 6, 2016. REUTERS/Issei Kato - RTSDRFU

REUTERS/Issei Kato - RTSDRFU
  • Asian shares follow Wall Street lower
  • Middle East markets dropped on Tuesday, Dubai’s index the sole gainer
  • S. oil prices rebound after sharp drops
  • Dollar, gold retreat

Global markets

Asian shares dropped in early trading on Wednesday, following a retreat on Wall Street during Monday’s session, as trade tensions between the United States and China and concerns over weaker economic growth in the U.S. weighed on sentiment.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.15 percent, as U.S. stocks plunged more than 2 percent on Monday.

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“In addition to concerns toward the U.S. economy, the markets are now having to grapple with growing turmoil in the White House which has raised political risk ahead of the year-end,” Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management, told Reuters.

Middle East markets

Middle East markets dropped on Tuesday as weak global markets and lower oil prices dragged regional markets lower.

The Saudi market retreated 0.6 percent on a drop in petrochemical shares as Saudi Basic Industries Corp lost 1.5 percent.

But Riyad Bank jumped 8.2 percent to its highest level since November 2014, after saying that National Commercial Bank, the kingdom's biggest lender by assets had begun discussions to merge with the firm. National Commercial Bank was up 1.5 percent.

The Dubai index inched up 0.3 percent and was the sole gainer of the session. Emirates NBD, Dubai's biggest bank, rose 4.2 percent, while Mashreq Bank gained 8.3 percent.

Abu Dhabi's main index slid 0.4 percent. Emirates Telecommunications Group was down 0.8 percent, and Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank fell 1.4 percent.

Qatar's index declined 1.3 percent with Islamic bank Masraf Al Rayan falling 2.6 percent, and Qatar National Bank losing 1.5 percent.

The Egyptian blue-chip index fell 0.9 percent with Egypt's largest lender, Commercial International Bank, losing 0.9 percent, and Eastern Co also losing 0.9 percent.

Kuwait’s index dropped 0.6 percent, while Bahrain’s index was mainly flat and Oman’s index dropped 0.8 percent.

Oil prices

Oil prices were weak in early trading on Wednesday, while U.S. oil prices rebounded from sharp drops.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures, were up 35 cents, or 0.82 percent, at $42.88 per barrel, at 0152 GMT. They had slumped 6.7 percent in the previous session to $42.53 a barrel - the lowest since June 2017.

Brent crude oil futures were down 16 cents or 0.32 percent at $50.31 a barrel, having skidded 6.2 percent in the previous session to $50.47 a barrel, the weakest since August 2017.

Currencies

The dollar retreated on Wednesday concerns over weaker economic growth in the U.S.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, was trading near 96.583.

Precious metals

Gold prices edged lower on Wednesday.

Spot gold slipped 0.2 percent to $1,265.46 per ounce as of 0052 GMT. The metal touched $1,270.50 in early trade, its highest level since June 25.

U.S. gold futures were down 0.3 percent at $1,268.10 per ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

(gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

Disclaimer: This article is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Read our full disclaimer policy here.

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