Oil, gold prices drop as shares surge

Gross short positions on the New York Mercantile Exchange, above, climbed to their highest level in nearly a month. (Reuters)
Updated 12 March 2018
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Oil, gold prices drop as shares surge

LONDON: Oil prices fell on Monday on expectations that US output will rise this year, erasing earlier gains buoyed by lower weekly US rig counts and falling US unemployment.
Brent crude futures were at $64.04 per barrel, down 45 cents from their previous close.
US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were down 54 cents to $61.50 a barrel.
Helping the dip, hedge funds and money managers cut their bullish wagers on US crude oil for the first time in three weeks, data showed on Friday.
The reduction came as gross short positions on the New York Mercantile Exchange climbed to their highest level in nearly a month.
“Rising production and inventory in the United States has been reducing fund sentiment since it peaked at the end of January,” ING said in a note.
Meanwhile, gold also fell on Monday as the previous session’s upbeat US payrolls data sparked a fresh rally in stock markets and shored up expectations that the Federal Reserve would press ahead with further interest rate hikes this year.
World stocks hit a two-week high on Monday after Friday’s strong jobs data helped offset investors’ concerns about the potential for a trade war between the United States and other major economies. Spot gold was down 0.5 percent at $1,316.81 an ounce.
US stocks advanced on Monday, with gains in shares of chipmakers and technology giants helping Wall Street extend last week’s rally that was powered by US jobs data.
Gains in Apple, Amazon and chipmakers Broadcom and Micron Technology drove the S&P 500 higher.
Broadcom rose 2.9 percent following report that Intel was considering a possible bid for the company.
General Electric rose 2.2 percent and was the biggest boost to the Dow.
In Saudi Arabia, the index climbed 1.1 percent, surpassing its January peak to close at its highest level since October 2015.
Petrochemicals were particularly strong as National Petrochemical, which had jumped 10 percent on Sunday after reporting annual net profit more than doubled, rose by the same margin again.
Saudi Industrial Investment Group, which had gained 10 percent on Monday after reporting annual profit increased more than ten-fold, added 5.3 percent.
Exchange data released after the close on Sunday showed foreign investors were net buyers of Saudi stocks last week to the tune of $115 million, as they positioned for expected decisions by equity index compilers in the next few months to upgrade Riyadh to emerging market status.


Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

Updated 23 March 2019
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Apple’s Cook to China: keep opening for sake of global economy

  • Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China
  • Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets

BEIJING: Apple chief executive Tim Cook nudged China on Saturday to open up and said the future would depend on global collaboration, as the United States and China remained locked in a bitter trade dispute.
“We encourage China to continue to open up, we see that as essential, not only for China to reach its full potential, but for the global economy to thrive,” Cook said at a China Development Forum in Beijing.
Despite official pledges and repeated assurances that China would continue to open its markets, some analysts worry that its reform project has slowed or even stalled under President Xi Jinping, who has sought greater control over the economy and a bigger role for state-owned firms at the expense of the private sector.
Cook’s comments come as Apple weathers sinking sales in China because of a contracting smartphone market, increasing pressure from Chinese rivals, and slowing upgrade cycles. The company reported a revenue drop of 26 percent in the greater China region during the quarter ending in December.
Before those results came out, in a January letter to investors, Cook blamed the company’s poor China performance on trade tension between the United States and China, suggesting that pressure on the economy was hurting sales in China.