Global stocks gain on oil boost; dollar fades vs yen

Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) April 4, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Global equity markets advanced on Friday, buoyed by a jump in oil prices, but were lower for the week as the dollar gave up early gains against the yen.

Stocks on Wall Street and in Europe were lifted by energy names, with Brent and U.S. crude oil jumping more than 6 percent as drawdowns in U.S. crude stocks fed hopes a punishing global glut that has persisted for nearly two years may be nearing a tipping point.

Global benchmark Brent crude futures LCOc1 jumped 6.4 percent to settle at $41.94 per barrel, scoring their biggest weekly gain in five. U.S. crude futures CLc1 closed up $2.46, or 6.6 percent, to $39.72, up nearly 8 percent for the week.

The STOXX 600 Europe Oil and Gas .SXEP index was up more than 3 percent while the S&P energy index .SPNY climbed 2 percent as the top-performing sectors in each region, tracking the rise in crude prices.

“Clearly if you are looking at it from an index perspective, the stronger commodities are having a bit of a positive effect,” said Nick Kalivas, senior equity strategist at Invesco PowerShares in Chicago.

“The market still remains very focussed on energy as kind of an indicator of economic health and credit risk that I don’t think has faded yet.”

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 35 points, or 0.2 percent, to 17,576.96, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 5.68 points, or 0.28 percent, to 2,047.59 and the Nasdaq Composite.IXIC added 2.32 points, or 0.05 percent, to 4,850.69.

Even with Friday’s modest gains, the S&P 500 suffered its biggest weekly decline in two months.

MSCI’s index of world shares .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.68 percent but was down 0.55 percent for the week. The FTSEurofirst 300 closed up .FTEU3 1.2 percent, but still notched a fourth straight weekly decline, its longest losing streak since October 2014.

Much of the volatility this week has been fuelled by the yen’s surge against the dollar, which caught many market participants off-guard and increased speculation Tokyo could intervene in the currency market to halt the rally.

The dollar briefly traded above 109.00 yen JPY=, recovering from its first break below 108.00 since October 2014 on Thursday. Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said the government would take steps to counter “one-sided” moves in the yen in either direction.

However, those gains faded late in the session and the dollar was last off 0.04 percent at 108.16 yen, for a weekly fall of 3.1 percent.

Sharp appreciation of the safe-haven yen against the dollar is often a warning sign of broader financial market stress and investor risk aversion, which has been exacerbated this week by growing uncertainty surrounding the U.S. economic and policy outlook.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen, in a conversation with former Fed chairmen on Thursday, said the U.S. economy is on a solid course and still on track to warrant further interest rate hikes.

New York Fed President William Dudley on Friday said the central bank must approach further rate hikes cautiously and gradually because of lingering external risks to the U.S. economy, despite some strength at home and welcome hints of inflation.

The comments helped push benchmark 10-year Treasuries US10YT=RR down 9/32 in price to yield 1.784 percent after they hit a low six-week of 1.685 percent on Thursday.

[Source:- Reuters]