Bears ignore tight market as oil prices stay volatile

Bears ignore tight market as oil prices stay volatile
The Total Culzean platform is pictured on the North Sea, about 70 kilometers east of the Aberdeen, on April 8, 2019. Oil prices have continued to fall since the second half of May. (AFP / ANDY BUCHANAN)
Updated 09 June 2019

Bears ignore tight market as oil prices stay volatile

Bears ignore tight market as oil prices stay volatile

RIYADH: Oil prices have continued to fall since the second half of May as some commentators described the volatile market as the worst four-week run since the 2008 financial crisis. 

If that is an accurate description of the market, then we should also consider the retreat in major equity share indexes such as the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones.

Oil prices rebounded slightly at the end of the week on the news that OPEC+ will probably continue its output cuts throughout the year. Brent and WTI crude prices rose to $63.29 and $53.99 per barrel respectively.

However, falling oil prices for the past month have not taken the strength out of the forward curves, which still suggest tight physical crude oil markets. 

We can observe the tightness in the market in the forward curve of Brent futures, where deliveries in future months are cheaper than current prices. 

This scenario, known in the oil trading sector as “backwardation,” is a fundamental support to the market that is not reflected in oil prices.

The latest data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA), shows US inventories featured more than 22 million barrels in crude, gasoline and diesel stocks. 

Crude inventories have risen in three of the last four weeks despite expectations for declines.

Strong China oil imports and increased US refinery utilization that reached a 4-month high above 90 percent, hardly denote an economic slowdown.

The rise in US inventories has acted to either drive speculators away from bets on higher prices or to encourage bearish speculators to short the market and bet on lower prices, which is one of the factors behind oil price weakness in recent months.

Speculators have taken advantage of the price fall by increasing their bearish bets, a change from recent weeks that was more about these same speculators closing out bets that prices would rise. 


SAP sees flat 2021 revenue after Q4 results beat market expectations

SAP sees flat 2021 revenue after  Q4 results beat market expectations
Updated 56 sec ago

SAP sees flat 2021 revenue after Q4 results beat market expectations

SAP sees flat 2021 revenue after  Q4 results beat market expectations

BERLIN: Business software group SAP forecast flat revenue and a decline in operating profit in 2021 after reporting fourth quarter results that beat market expectations, sending its shares up in early trading on Friday.
Giving an early view of 2020 results and setting 2021 guidance, SAP said adjusted revenue, at constant currency, would be unchanged to up 2 percent this year, while adjusted operating profit was seen falling by 1 percent to 6 percent.
“This update should trigger a modest relief rally,” said Citi analyst Amit Harchandani, adding, however, that the overall level of near-term uncertainty meant he would keep his neutral rating on the stock.
CEO Christian Klein abandoned his medium-term profit targets last October and said SAP would go all-in on its shift to cloud computing, cautioning that business would take longer than expected to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
That announcement, which came with a third quarter earnings miss, sparked the biggest drop in SAP shares in a generation, causing the leading provider of enterprise software to lose its mantle as Europe’s most valuable technology company.
SAP’s 2020 revenue exceeded its lowered guidance, while profit hit the high end, the company said in a news release issued ahead of results scheduled on Jan. 29.
“Our strong finish to the year and the upcoming launch of our new holistic business transformation offering position us well to meet our new outlook targets,” Klein said in a news release that followed SAP’s late night results release.
The company plans a kickoff event, called SAP Rise, on Jan. 27 to promote its cloud drive.
SAP shares have lost more than a quarter in value since their all-time high set last September, valuing the Walldorf-based company at $156 billion.
Chief Financial Officer Luka Mucic highlighted SAP’s record cash flow generation in 2020 which, at €7 billion, was double a year earlier.
Cloud revenue continued to be impacted by lower pay-as-you-go transactional revenue, however, in particular for Concur, SAP’s expense management app that has been hit by a slump in corporate travel.
That was offset by strength in e-commerce, business technology platform and customer experience sales, as well as wins for SAP’s human resources application SuccessFactors.
“SAP also saw strong early take up of its new holistic business transformation offering among pilot customers, contributing to the cloud performance in the quarter,” the company said.
SAP says its switch to subscription-based cloud services will boost growth and profit margins in the long term, but weaning itself off the upfront fees that its legacy software licenses throw off will create near-term headwinds.
Non-IFRS cloud revenue at constant currencies rose by 13 percent in the fourth quarter, while current cloud backlog — the company’s preferred indicator of sales performance — grew by 14 percent, also at constant currencies.
Quarterly operating profit was lifted by lower share-based compensation expenses, rising 3 percent at constant currency. Adjusted operating margin, also at constant currency, expanded by 1.5 percentage points to 36.8 percent.