US stock futures up, oil down on hopes Syria attack a one-off

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, (NYSE) in New York, US, April 10, 2018. (Reuters)
Updated 16 April 2018
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US stock futures up, oil down on hopes Syria attack a one-off

SYDNEY: US stock futures firmed and oil fell on Monday as investors wagered the latest US-led strike on Syria would not escalate into a wider conflict, though Asian markets turned mixed as selling in bank shares slugged Chinese indexes.
EMini futures for the S&P 500 rose right from the start and were last up 0.4 percent, while Eurostoxx 50 futures added 0.27 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.3 percent. Yet MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.4 percent as Chinese blue chips skidded 1.7 percent.
Real estate and financial firms led the declines as Chinese authorities continue to tighten the screws on riskier types of financing in a bid to reduce systemic risks.
The early mood had been one of relief that the well-telegraphed attack on Syria had been limited in scale.
The United States, France and Britain launched 105 missiles targeting what the Pentagon said were three chemical weapons facilities in Syria in retaliation for a suspected poison gas attack in Douma on April 7.
Russian President Vladimir Putin warned on Sunday that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions.
But with President Donald Trump declaring mission accomplished, investors assumed the worst had been avoided.
“Trump was able to enforce his chemical weapons red line without crossing the threshold for Russian retaliation,” analysts at JPMorgan said in a note.
“Stocks were concerned about a prolonged and expanded US campaign toward Assad and that doesn’t look probable.”
Safe-haven assets eased slightly in response, with yields on US 10-year Treasury debt up two basis points at 2.84 percent.
Eying Abe

The dollar failed to hold its early gains on the yen and eased to 107.20, though that was still up on last week’s low around 106.62.
Dealers were keeping a wary eye on Japanese politics after a survey showed support for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had fallen to 26.7 percent, the lowest since he took office in late 2012.
Abe’s sliding ratings are raising doubts over whether he can win a third ,three-year term as ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) leader in a September vote, or whether he might even resign before the party election.
The euro was steady at $1.2330, while the dollar index eased a touch to 89.781.
In commodity markets, gold was steady around $1,345.60 an ounce, still well short of last week’s peak at $1,365.23.
Oil prices slipped with Brent crude futures off 69 cents at $71.89 a barrel, while US crude fell 54 cents to $66.85.
Looking ahead, the US earnings season swings into high gear this week with Thomson Reuters data predicting profits at S&P 500 companies increased by 18.6 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, their biggest rise in seven years.
Yet with expectations so high, bank shares ran into profit-taking on Friday after a batch of mixed results.
In Asia, China reports its gross domestic product for the first quarter on Tuesday, with market forecasts clustered around growth of 6.7 percent to 6.8 percent.
That pace would suggest China has largely sustained its growth momentum from late last year despite crackdowns on riskier financing and industrial pollution, even as investors fret over the risk of a trade war with the United States.
The United States reports retail sales later on Monday and there are around 15 Federal Reserve speakers in the diary for the week.
Also this week, the IMF will hold its spring meetings of central bankers and finance ministers in Washington.


‘Get prices down’ Trump tells OPEC

Updated 20 September 2018
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‘Get prices down’ Trump tells OPEC

  • Trump highlights US security role in region
  • Comments come ahead of oil producers meeting in Algeria

LONDON: US president Donald Trump urged OPEC to lower crude prices on Thursday while reminding Mideast oil exporters of US security support.
He made his remarks on Twitter ahead of a keenly awaited meeting of OPEC countries and its allies in Algiers this weekend as pressure mounts on them to prevent a spike in prices caused by the reimposition of oil sanctions on Iran.
“We protect the countries of the Middle East, they would not be safe for very long without us, and yet they continue to push for higher and higher oil prices!” he tweeted.
“We will remember. The OPEC monopoly must get prices down now!”
Despite the threat, the group and its allies are unlikely to agree to an official increase in output, Reuters reported on Thursday, citing OPEC sources.
In June they agreed to increase production by about one million barrels per day (bpd). That decision was was spurred by a recovery in oil prices, in part caused by OPEC and its partners agreeing to lower production since 2017.
Known as OPEC+, the group of oil producers which includes Russia are due to meet on Sunday in Algiers to look at how to allocate the additional one million bpd within its quote a framework.
OPEC sources told Reuters that there was no immediate plan for any official action as such a move would require OPEC to hold what it calls an extraordinary meeting, which is not on the table.
Oil prices slipped after Trumps remarks, with Brent crude shedding 40 cents to $79 a barrel in early afternoon trade in London while US light crude was unchanged at about $71.12.
Brent had been trading at around $80 on expectations that global supplies would come under pressure from the introduction of US sanctions on Iranian crude exports on Nov. 4.
Some countries has already started to halt imports from Tehran ahead of that deadline, leading analysts to speculate about how much spare capacity there is in the Middle East to compensate for the loss of Iranian exports as well as how much of that spare capacity can be easily brought online after years of under-investment in the industry.
Analysts expect oil to trend higher and through the $80 barrier as the deadline for US sanctions approaches.
“Brent is definitely fighting the $80 line, wanting to break above,” said SEB Markets chief commodities analyst Bjarne Schieldrop, Reuters reported. “But this is likely going to break very soon.”