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|19 March, 2019

Tuesday outlook: All eyes on the Fed meeting

Policymakers from the U.S. Federal Reserve kick off a two day meeting later today

A jogger runs past the Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC, U.S., August 22, 2018.

A jogger runs past the Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC, U.S., August 22, 2018.

REUTERS/Chris Wattie
  • Asian shares unchanged, despite a rise on Wall Street
  • Oil prices hover near 2019 highs
  • Abu Dhabi’s index outperforms the region
  • Dollar drops, gold gains

Global markets

Asian shares were mainly unchanged in early trading on Tuesday, with investors cautiously awaiting the outcome of the United States’ Federal Reserve meeting, set to kick off later in the day.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat, easing back from its highest level since September 21 hit earlier in the session.

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Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite rose between 0.3 and 0.4 percent each.

“Speculators appear to be betting on a rise in stock prices on the back of a dovish Fed. The Fed is unlikely to kill such hopes. Yet there is a risk the Fed could tone down its dovishness,” Masanari Takada, cross-asset strategist at Nomura Securities, told Reuters.

Toru Yamamoto, chief fixed income strategist at Daiwa Securities, told Reuters that “a key focus is when the Fed will omit the word ‘patient’ from its statement, as that would be a prerequisite for a rate hike.”

Oil prices

Oil prices hovered near 2019 highs, supported by tightening supplies.

Earlier this year, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) had issued a list of oil production cuts by its members and other major producers for six months starting January 1, to boost confidence in its oil supply reduction pact. OPEC said on in February that it had reduced its output by almost 800,000 bpd in January to 30.81 million bpd. Oil prices have also been boosted by lower supply from Venezuela, as the U.S. introduced petroleum export sanctions against state-owned Venezuelan energy firm PDVSA.

Early on Tuesday, U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures were at $59.10 per barrel at 0314 GMT, close to a 2019 high of $59.23.

Brent crude oil futures were up 10 cents at $67.64 per barrel, also close to this year’s peak of $68.14 reached late last week.

Middle East markets

Saudi Arabia’s index rose 1.1 percent on Monday as bank shares climbed on the first day of inclusion of Saudi stocks into FTSE Russell's emerging-market index.

Al Rajhi Bank gained 0.8 percent and blue-chip petrochemical maker Saudi Basic Industries (SABIC) added 1 percent.

The Abu Dhabi index rose 1.8 percent, lifted by a 3.2 percent rise in First Abu Dhabi Bank, while Dana Gas gained 1.8 percent.

In Dubai, the index was up 1.6 percent, with Dubai Islamic Bank gaining 3.2 percent and the emirate's largest listed developer, Emaar Properties, rising 2.2 percent.

Qatar's index increased 1.1 percent. Qatar Islamic Bank added 3 percent and the Middle East's largest lender, Qatar National Bank, rose 1.5 percent.

Egypt's blue-chip index was down 0.8 percent, with its major lender Commercial International Bank shedding 1.7 percent.

Kuwait’s premier market index edged 0.3 percent higher, Bahrain’s index added 0.2 percent and Oman’s index gained 1 percent.

Currencies

The dollar declined in value on Tuesday.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of six major currencies, dipped 0.1 percent to 96.43, hovering close to a two-week low touched overnight.

Precious metals

Gold prices rose on a weaker dollar.

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,304.91 per ounce at 0058 GMT.

U.S. gold futures rose by about 0.3 percent to $1,304.70 an ounce.

(Reporting by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Michael Fahy)

(gerard.aoun@refinitiv.com)

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles

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© ZAWYA 2019

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