Thursday outlook: Stock markets surge despite trade tensions

Asian shares tracked on Thursday a surge in U.S. shares overnight despite trade tensions between the U.S. and China. The Egyptian market dropped 3.8 percent on Wednesday, while Saudi Arabia's index added gains for the third consecutive session. More commentary on oil prices, currencies and precious metals.

  
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 29, 2018.

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 29, 2018.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid
  • Global markets add gains
  • Egypt’s index drops 3.8 percent, Saudi Arabia continues rebound
  • Oil prices rise on tightening supply
  • Dollar retreats, gold prices firm

Global markets

Asian stock markets edged up in early trade on Thursday tracking a surge on Wall Street overnight as World stock markets rallied for a second straight day on Wednesday, despite concerns over the impact from the U.S.-China trade war.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.05 percent in early trade in Asia.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended 0.61 percent higher on Wednesday at 26,405.76, its highest close since late January, while the S&P 500 gained 0.13 percent to 2,907.95.

MSCI's gauge of equity markets in 47 countries gained 0.36 percent on Wednesday and the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index closed up 0.33 percent to two-week highs.

Middle East markets

Most stock markets in the Middle East dropped on Wednesday, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi’s indices added gains.

The Saudi market gained 1.1 percent on Wednesday, strengthening for the third consecutive session this week. 

“Tadawul had witnessed considerable weakness in the first half of September, declining more than 6 percent. Accordingly, some support and pull back is not surprising,” Nishit Lakhotia, Head of Research at SICO, told Zawya.

“Tadawul is still close to 10 percent lower than its 52-week high and the actual flow-driven trigger from MSCI and FTSE will impact the markets in less than six months from now.

“So it is an opportune time to shop and pick the beta plays from the flow-driven rally,” Lakhotia argued.

Abu Dhabi’s index edged up 0.2 percent. Neighbouring Dubai’s index edged down 0.1 percent with decliners outnumbering gainers by 20 to 11.

Qatar's index edged down 0.2 percent but Qatar Insurance jumped 5.9 percent in its heaviest trade for three months.

Egypt’s index dropped 3.8 percent, its biggest drop since mid-2016.

Qalaa Holdings, which has said its investor relations head Amr El-Kadi was detained in connection with the manipulation case, plummetted 8.9 percent on Wednesday.

But investment bank EFG-Hermes, which has said its non-executive vice chairman Yasser El Mallawany was also detained in connection with the case, closed up 0.3 percent.

Kuwait’s index lost 0.3 percent, and Oman’s index dropped 0.2 percent.

Oil prices

Oil prices added gains in early trading on Thursday as the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday that U.S. crude oil stockpiles fell for a fifth straight week to 3-1/2 year lows in the week to September 14, while gasoline inventories also showed a larger-than-expected draw on unseasonably strong demand.

Global benchmark Brent crude was up by 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, at $79.60 by 0214 GMT, after gaining half-a-percent on Wednesday.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was up 55 cents, or 0.8 percent, at $71.67 a barrel, after rising nearly 2 percent the previous session.

“The bulls are back in charge, even more so after traders were conveying a high degree of resistance to the unexpected build on the API survey,” Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia-Pacific at OANDA in Singapore, told Reuters.

Currencies

The dollar was trading at 94.554 on Thursday, near its seven-week low of 94.308 touched on Tuesday against a basket of six major currencies.

The euro traded at $1.1671, not far from its peak in August and September around $1.1730.

Precious metals

Gold prices were mainly unchanged on Thursday after rising in the previous session as the dollar softened.

Spot gold was little changed at $1,203.86 by 0106 GMT, after rising 0.5 percent in the previous session.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,209 an ounce.

(Writing by Gerard Aoun; Editing by Mily Chakrabarty)

(gerard.aoun@thomsonreuters.com)


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