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| 07 October, 2018

Sunday outlook: Global markets dropped on Friday, oil prices close firm

Stock markets dropped on Friday and Middle East markets were mostly lower on Thursday. Oil prices firmed after losses on Thursday, record weekly gains. More commentary on currencies and precious metals

Image used for illustrative purpose.
 BP's Huge oil refinery complex continues it's 24 hour production of petroleum and gas

Image used for illustrative purpose. BP's Huge oil refinery complex continues it's 24 hour production of petroleum and gas

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  • Most global markets dropped on Friday
  • Middle East markets end the week lower
  • Oil prices firm, record weekly gains
  • The dollar drops, gold prices add gains

Global markets

Stock markets across the globe mostly dropped on Friday on strong United States jobs data, signaling increased inflation pressures.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 180.43 points, or 0.68 percent, to 26,447.05, the S&P 500 lost 16.04 points, or 0.55 percent, to 2,885.57. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 91.06 points, or 1.16 percent, to 7,788.45, marking its first weekly percentage decline since March.

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“The jobs report has become a inflation report,” Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Services Inc in Troy, Michigan, told Reuters.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index lost 0.86 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.67 percent.

Middle East markets

Most markets in the Middle East ended the day weak on Thursday.

Egypt’s index dropped 1.5 percent, as weak emerging markets weighed on the index. The Egyptian index lost 3.6 percent for the week.

Saudi Arabia’s index edged down 0.1 percent. A merger between Saudi's Alawwal Bank and Saudi British Bank provided one of the few bright spots.

Shares in Saudi bank Alawwal gained 2.96 percent while shares in Saudi British Bank (SABB) dropped 1.09 percent, after the two banks announced that they entered into a “binding merger agreement”.

“It is expected that the merger will complete during the first half of 2019,” the banks said in a statement.

“If the merger is completed, Alawwal bank shareholders will receive 0.48535396 new SABB shares for each Alawwal bank share (the "Exchange Ratio"). The new shares will be issued by way of a capital increase, which will increase the SABB paid-up capital by 37.0% from SAR 15,000,000,000 to 20,547,945,220 and the number of its issued shares will increase from 1,500,000,000 to 2,054,794,522.” the statement to the exchange noted.

Dubai’s index dropped 0.8 percent, with Emaar Properties dropping close to 3 percent.

DAMAC Properties rebounded 1.5 percent; it slid on Wednesday after saying it expects Dubai's real estate market to face another few quarters of softness before starting to rebound from late 2019.

Neighbouring Abu Dhabi’s index edged up 0.1 percent.

Qatar’s index edged up 0.1 percent, Oman’s index gained 0.2 percent, while Kuwait’s index dropped 0.3 percent and Bahrain’s index dropped 0.4 percent.

Oil prices

Oil prices firmed on Friday and marked weekly gains as market participants took into considerations the United States sanctions on Iran that will start from November 4.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose 1 cent to settle at $74.34 a barrel.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures for December delivery fell 42 cents to settle at $84.16 a barrel. On Wednesday, Brent hit its highest price since late 2014, at $86.74.

On Thursday, oil prices dropped on higher U.S. crude oil stocks.

“They’re taking a pause after yesterday’s sell-off,” Andrew Lipow, president of Lipow Oil Associates, told Reuters.

Currencies

The dollar fell on Friday.

The dollar index fell as low as 95.516, from around 95.770 before the data, before rising back to 95.678.

“Wage inflation is creeping higher, but it has not accelerated as the market was fearing,” said Russell Price, senior economist at Ameriprise Financial Services in Troy, Michigan.

“There is no material slowdown in the U.S. economy. These numbers will confirm the Fed remains on track for steady rate hikes,” Paresh Upadhyaya, director of currency strategy at Amundi Pioneer Asset Management in Boston, told Reuters.

Precious metals

Gold prices added gains on Friday on a weaker dollar.

Spot gold was up 0.2 percent at $1,201.82 an ounce by 13:45 p.m. EDT (1745 GMT), and was on track to rise about 0.8 percent this week, the most since the week of August 24.

U.S. gold futures settled up $4, or 0.3 percent, at $1,205.60.

(Writing by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

(gerard.aoun@thomsonreuters.com)


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