Wall St hits new record highs as Fed in no rush to tighten

2017-05-25 15:19 GMT

Investing.com - U.S. stocks higher Thursday as the latest FOMC minutes signaled the Fed is in no hurry to tighten further down the road.
The DJI was up 0.37% at 10:45 ET at over 21,000, adding to overnight gains.
The S&P 500 added 0.40% as it extended record closing highs overnight.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite also hit fresh records and was up 0.56%.
The Fed left expectations of a June hike intact but appeared dovish on the pace of future tightening.
The current odds of a 25 basis point hike in June currently stand at over 77%.
The dollar index edged above 97 after the Fed minutes.
Oil retreated after early gains as the Saudi energy minister said he sees no immediate need to deepen the output cuts by major producers.
An OPEC-led meeting in Vienna is expected to officially announce an extension of the cuts to March of next year.
Initial jobless claims rose less than forecast in the latest week.
(NASDAQ:Sears) soared 31.99% to $9.86 as first-quarter earnings sailed well past estimates.

Greece stocks higher at close of trade; Athens General-Composite up 0.49%

2017-05-25 15:15 GMT

Investing.com – Greece stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Media, Banking and Utilities sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Athens, the Athens General-Composite gained 0.49%.

The best performers of the session on the Athens General-Composite were Attica Bank SA (AT:BOAr), which rose 14.29% or 0.013 points to trade at 0.104 at the close. Meanwhile, Alpha Bank SA (AT:ACBr) added 5.39% or 0.110 points to end at 2.150 and Hellenic Petroleum SA (AT:HEPr) was up 4.04% or 0.250 points to 6.440 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Techn Olympic (AT:OLYr), which fell 3.55% or 0.050 points to trade at 1.360 at the close. Intralot (AT:INLr) declined 3.54% or 0.040 points to end at 1.090 and Profile Syst (AT:PRFr) was down 2.97% or 0.019 points to 0.620.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Athens Stock Exchange by 52 to 42 and 14 ended unchanged.

Shares in Hellenic Petroleum SA (AT:HEPr) rose to 3-years highs; gaining 4.04% or 0.250 to 6.440.

Gold Futures for June delivery was up 0.25% or 3.15 to $1256.25 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in July fell 1.15% or 0.59 to hit $50.77 a barrel, while the July Brent oil contract fell 0.87% or 0.47 to trade at $53.49 a barrel.

EUR/USD was down 0.04% to 1.1214, while EUR/GBP rose 0.02% to 0.8654.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.12% at 97.07.

Israel stocks higher at close of trade; TA 35 up 0.34%

2017-05-25 15:00 GMT

Investing.com – Israel stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Banking, Biomed and Oil&Gas sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Tel Aviv, the TA 35 rose 0.34%.

The best performers of the session on the TA 35 were Nice Ltd (TA:NICE), which rose 2.78% or 760 points to trade at 28070 at the close. Meanwhile, Leumi (TA:LUMI) added 2.72% or 45 points to end at 1700 and First International Bank of Israel Ltd (TA:FTIN) was up 2.29% or 137 points to 6129 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Azrieli Group Ltd (TA:AZRG), which fell 3.66% or 760 points to trade at 20000 at the close. Airport City Ltd (TA:ARPT) declined 3.61% or 187 points to end at 5000 and Big Shopping Centers Ltd (TA:BIG) was down 2.43% or 680 points to 27320.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange by 213 to 198 and 91 ended unchanged.

Shares in Nice Ltd (TA:NICE) rose to all time highs; gaining 2.78% or 760 to 28070.

Crude oil for July delivery was down 1.42% or 0.73 to $50.63 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in July fell 1.19% or 0.64 to hit $53.32 a barrel, while the June Gold Futures contract rose 0.20% or 2.47 to trade at $1255.57 a troy ounce.

USD/ILS was down 0.29% to 3.5718, while EUR/ILS fell 0.35% to 4.0050.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.13% at 97.08.

Dollar holds onto moderate gains in subdued trade

2017-05-25 14:51 GMT

Investing.com - The dollar held onto moderate gains against other major currencies in subdued trade on Thursday, helped by the release of positive U.S. jobless claims data, although the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting continued to weigh.

EUR/USD eased 0.08% to 1.1210, just off Tuesday’s six-month high of 1.1268.

The U.S. Department of Labor said initial jobless claims in the week ending May 20 increased by 1,000 to 234,000 from the previous week’s total of 233,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to rise to 238,000 last week.

The data came a day after the minutes of the Fed’s May meeting showed that the central bank plans to unwind its balance sheet towards the end of the year, possibly using a system where cap limits are implemented on how much the Fed would roll off every month without reinvesting.

The Fed also signaled that interest rates could be raised soon, but added that "it would be prudent" to wait for more U.S. economic data.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD fell 0.23% to 1.2940 after the U.K. Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product was revised down to 0.2% in the three months to March from the first estimate of 0.3%. It was the weakest growth since the first quarter of 2016.

USD/JPY gained 0.34% to 111.88, while USD/CHF edged down 0.12% to 0.9717.

The Australian dollar remained weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.48% at 0.7470, while NZD/USD held steady at 0.7046.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD added 0.16% to trade at 1.3429 after hitting a five-week low of 1.3388 overnight.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.15% at 97.10, pulling away from Tuesday’s six-month lows of 96.70.

U.S. natural gas futures hit session lows after supply data

2017-05-25 14:35 GMT

Investing.com - U.S. natural gas futures fell to session lows on Thursday, following data showing that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. rose more than expected last week.

U.S. natural gas for June delivery was down around 0.026 cents or 0.76% to $3.275 per million British thermal units by 10:35 ET (14:35 GMT).

Futures were at around $3.303 prior to the release of the supply data after rising to a session high of $3.351 earlier.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 75 billion cubic feet in the week ended May 19, above forecasts for a build of 71 billion.

That compared with a gain of 68 billion cubic feet in the preceding week.

Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.444 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Stocks were 371 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 241 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 2,203 billion cubic feet.

Natural gas prices have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting outlooks on spring heating demand.

Gas use typically hits a seasonal low with spring's mild temperatures, before warmer weather increases demand for gas-fired electricity generation to power air conditioning.

Nearly 50% of all U.S. households use gas for heating.

U.S. Natural Gas Storage 75B vs. 71B forecast

2017-05-25 14:30 GMT

U.S. natural gas storage rose more-than-expected last month, official data showed on Thursday.

In a report, Energy Information Administration said that U.S. Natural Gas Storage rose to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 75B, from 68B in the preceding month.

Analysts had expected U.S. Natural Gas Storage to rise 71B last month.

U.S. initial jobless claims 234,000 vs. forecast 238,000

2017-05-25 13:53 GMT

Investing.com - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose less than expected in the past week.
Initial jobless claims were up 1,000 from the previous week at 234,000, the Labor Department said.
The previous week's figure was revised to 233,000 from 232,000.
Economists had expected jobless claims to rise to 238,000.
The figures showed the ongoing strength of the labor market.

USD/CAD rises on U.S. data, tumbling oil prices

2017-05-25 13:28 GMT

Investing.com - The U.S. dollar rose against its Canadian counterpart on Thursday, helped by the release of upbeat U.S. jobless claims data and as declining oil prices dampened demand for the commodity-related Canadian currency.

USD/CAD hit 1.3448 during early U.S. trade, the session high; the pair subsequently consolidated at 1.3420, adding 0.10%.

The pair was likely to find support at 1.3309, the low of April 24 and resistance at 1.3541, Wednesday’s high.

The U.S. Department of Labor said initial jobless claims in the week ending May 20 increased by 1,000 to 234,000 from the previous week’s total of 233,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to rise to 238,000 last week.

The data came a day after the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s May meeting showed that the central bank plans to unwind its balance sheet towards the end of the year, possibly using a system where cap limits are implemented on how much the Fed would roll off every month without reinvesting.

The Fed also signaled that interest rates could be raised soon, but added that "it would be prudent" to wait for more U.S. economic data.

Meanwhile, the Canadian dollar weakened as oil prices moved sharply lower after OPEC decided to extend production cuts by nine months to March 2018.

The loonie was steady against the euro, with EUR/CAD at 1.5041.

Oil slumps as experts question OPEC cut extension effectiveness

2017-05-25 13:23 GMT

Investing.com - Oil prices traded lower on Thursday as some experts questioned the effectiveness of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) decision to extend its output cut agreement for another nine months.

Oil's losses accelerated Thursday after OPEC agreed to extend its production cuts for nine months, according to media reports, citing delegates at the highly anticipated meeting in Vienna.

In December last year, OPEC and 11 other non-OPEC producers, including Russia, agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day between January 1 and June 30 in what was the first joint accord in 15 years.

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid al-Falih had indicated that the major oil producers were likely to agree on extending production cuts for nine months to March 2018 as widely expected, but also stated that the consensus among members was that deeper cuts are not needed now.

Among OPEC members, Nigeria and Libya will continue to be exempt from an output cap while Iran’s output would remain at 3.8 million barrels per day.

In any case, commodity strategists from ING questioned why they were bothering to extend the agreement.

“These OPEC production plans didn’t boost prices,” they explained, adding that oil inventories also did not drop.

“Question: Are they set to flood the oil market from February 2018?,” they asked.

OPEC energy ministers are currently convened with their non-OPEC counterparts in Vienna with a joint press conference tentatively scheduled for 11:00AM ET (15:00GMT).

According to media reports, the non-OPEC coalition led by Russia is widely expected to agree to the extension.

U.S. crude futures lost 0.80% to $50.95 by 9:22AM ET (13:22GMT), while Brent oil traded down 0.59% to $53.64.

Saudi Arabia stocks lower at close of trade; Tadawul All Share down 0.43%

2017-05-25 13:15 GMT

Investing.com – Saudi Arabia stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Building&Construction, Multi Investment and Industrial Investment sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Saudi Arabia, the Tadawul All Share declined 0.43%.

The best performers of the session on the Tadawul All Share were Saudi Cement Company (SE:3030), which rose 2.38% or 1.25 points to trade at 53.75 at the close. Meanwhile, Saudi Transport&Investment Co (SE:4110) added 2.37% or 1.25 points to end at 54.00 and Mouwasat Medical Services Company (SE:4002) was up 2.11% or 3.00 points to 145.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Saudi RE Cooperative Reinsurance (SE:8200), which fell 6.08% or 0.45 points to trade at 6.95 at the close. Salama Cooperative Insurance Co (SE:8050) declined 4.56% or 0.75 points to end at 15.70 and Nama Chemicals Co. (SE:2210) was down 4.17% or 0.75 points to 17.25.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Saudi Arabia Stock Exchange by 113 to 29 and 36 ended unchanged.

Shares in Nama Chemicals Co. (SE:2210) fell to 52-week lows; losing 4.17% or 0.75 to 17.25.

Crude oil for July delivery was down 0.97% or 0.50 to $50.86 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in July fell 0.76% or 0.41 to hit $53.55 a barrel, while the June Gold Futures contract rose 0.25% or 3.10 to trade at $1256.20 a troy ounce.

EUR/SAR was down 0.04% to 4.2054, while USD/SAR rose 0.01% to 3.7506.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.11% at 97.06.

Oil swings as OPEC signals 9-month extension but no deeper cuts

2017-05-25 12:39 GMT

Investing.com - Oil sank Thursday as it shed early gains of about 1% as OPEC signaled a nine-month extension of output cuts of the same magnitude.
U.S. crude was off 80 cents, or 1.56% at $50.56 at 08:00 ET. Brent lost 70 cents, or 1.30%, to $53.26.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said OPEC and non-OPEC producers are likely to agree to a nine-month extension.
However, he also said deeper cuts are not needed for the meanwhile.
An official OPEC statement is due out later in the session.
OPEC and non-OPEC producers are cutting output by 1.8 million barrels a day in the first half.
The expected decision to extend the time frame for the cuts comes after a further increase in U.S. shale activity.
U.S. production has risen by over 10% since mid-2016 to some 9.3 million barrels a day.

Dollar edges higher after U.S. jobless claims data

2017-05-25 12:38 GMT

Investing.com - The dollar edged higher against other major currencies on Thursday, helped by the release of positive U.S. jobless claims data, although the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting limited gains.

EUR/USD slipped 0.11% to 1.1207, just off Tuesday’s six-month high of 1.1268.

The U.S. Department of Labor said initial jobless claims in the week ending May 20 increased by 1,000 to 234,000 from the previous week’s total of 233,000. Analysts expected jobless claims to rise to 238,000 last week.

The data came a day after the minutes of the Fed’s May meeting showed that the central bank plans to unwind its balance sheet towards the end of the year, possibly using a system where cap limits are implemented on how much the Fed would roll off every month without reinvesting.

The Fed also signaled that interest rates could be raised soon, but added that "it would be prudent" to wait for more U.S. economic data.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD edged down 0.14% to 1.2953 after the U.K. Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product was revised down to 0.2% in the three months to March from the first estimate of 0.3%. It was the weakest growth since the first quarter of 2016.

USD/JPY gained 0.25% to 111.77, while USD/CHF held steady at 0.9724.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars remained weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.52% at 0.7467 and with NZD/USD shedding 0.17% to 0.7037.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD added 0.19% to trade at 1.3433 after hitting a five-week low of 1.3388 overnight.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was up 0.14% at 97.09, pulling away from Tuesday’s six-month lows of 96.70.

U.S. jobless claims rise by 1,000 to 234,000 last week

2017-05-25 12:34 GMT

Investing.com - The number of people who filed for unemployment assistance in the U.S. last week rose less than expected, remaining in territory consistent with a strengthening labor market, official data showed on Thursday.

The number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending May 20 increased by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 234,000 from the previous week’s total of 233,000, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

Analysts expected jobless claims to rise to 238,000 last week.

The four-week moving average was 235,250, down 5,750 from the previous week. The monthly average is seen as a more accurate gauge of labor trends because it reduces volatility in the week-to-week data.

Continuing jobless claims rose to 1.923 million from 1.899 million in the preceding week. Analysts had expected continuing claims to inch up to 1.925 million.

USD/JPY was at 111.75 from around 111.80 ahead of the release of the data, EUR/USD was trading at 1.1210 from around 1.1206 earlier, while GBP/USD was at 1.2953 from 1.2950.

The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was at 97.08, compared to 97.11 ahead of the report.

Weekly Comic: Which will be the best investment for the second half of 2017

2017-05-25 11:28 GMT

Investing.com - This week’s Investing.com comic pits some of the hottest investments of the year against each other, specifically bitcoin, ethereum, gold, oil and the S&P 500.

Bitcoin cleared the $2,600-level for the first time on Thursday to hit yet another all-time high, as a monster rally continues amid bullish noises around the future of the cryptocurrency.

Prices are up almost 100% so far in May. Since the start of the year, the price of bitcoin has soared roughly 180%, taking the total value of the cryptocurrency in circulation to around $43 billion.

Meanwhile, bullishness around bitcoin has stoked appetite for other cryptocurrencies. One in particular known as ethereum is gaining traction.

Ethereum has risen from $8.24 on January 1, to a high of $217.85 on Thursday. This represents a whopping 2,367% increase year-to-date.

The monster rally in cryptocurrencies this year has overshadowed traditional assets, such as gold, oil and the S&P 500, which are up roughly 9%, 2% and 8% since the start of the year.

Which will be the best investment for the second half of the year?

To see more of Investing.com’s weekly comics, visit: http://www.investing.com/analysis/comics

Top 5 things to watch today

2017-05-25 11:19 GMT

Investing.com - Oil swings as OPEC seems set to agree on 9-month extension.
U.S. rate hike odds drop after Fed signals gradual tightening.
Global stocks move higher after Fed minutes, OPEC in focus.
U.K. GDP growth revised lower in first quarter.
(Bitcoin) rally keeps going; tops $2,600.

U.S. stock index futures higher after Fed minutes

2017-05-25 11:17 GMT

Investing.com - U.S. stock index futures higher Thursday after the release of the minutes of the latest FOMC meeting.
The Dow futures up 0.37% at 06:45 ET. The DJI closed up 0.36% overnight.
The S&P 500 futures added 0.31%. The S&P 500 posted record close Wednesday,
The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures gained 0.39%.
The Fed signaled a June rate hike still on the cards but said tightening would be gradual.
The odds of a Fed June rate hike currently stand at over 77%.
The dollar index moved back above 97 mark after falling after Fed minutes.
Oil swung sharply from gains to losses as OPEC official output cut extension awaited.
Saudi Arabia's energy minister signals 9-month extension but says no need for deeper cuts.
Initial jobless claims due before the opening bell.

U.S. stock futures gain ground while investors focus on OPEC meeting

2017-05-25 11:03 GMT

Investing.com – Wall Street futures pointed to a higher open on Thursday although most investors focused their attention on developments surrounding the meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna.

The blue-chip Dow futures gained 71 points, or 0.34%, at 7:02AM ET (11:02GMT), the S&P 500 futures rose 7 points, or 0.29%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures traded up 20 points, or 0.35%.

While waiting for the official press conference tentatively scheduled for 11:00AM ET (15:00GMT) at the end of deliberations between OPEC and non-OPEC producing countries, several energy ministers had stated Thursday that the consensus was for extending the previously agreed production cuts for an additional nine months.

In November last year, OPEC and 11 other non-OPEC producers, including Russia, agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day between January 1 and June 30.

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Khalid al-Falih said OPEC and non-OPEC producers are likely to rule on extending production cuts for 9 months, but keep them at the same level as the consensus is that deeper cuts are not needed now.

Upon al-Falih’s remarks, oil prices turned sharply lower after being up more than 1% earlier. After a period of volatility with crude swinging back and forth between the red and the black, bearish sentiment had at last appeared to take hold.

U.S. crude futures fell 1.50% to $50.59 by 7:02AM ET (11:02GMT), while Brent oil lost 1.30% to $53.26.

Apart from the press conference, market players also looked ahead to the publication of weekly jobless claims at 8:30AM ET (12:30GMT) Thursday.

Investors will also pay attention to a couple of appearances from Federal Reserve (Fed) officials.

Fed governor Lael Brainard will participate in a panel on global economic issues at 10:00AM ET (14:00GMT), while St. Louis Fed president James Bullard will speak on U.S. economy and monetary policy after the market close at 10:00PM (2:00GMT Friday).

Minutes from the Fed's last policy meeting released on Wednesday showed that policymakers agreed they should hold off on raising interest rates until it was clear a recent U.S. economic slowdown was temporary, though most said a hike was likely coming soon. The minutes also showed that policymakers favored a gradual reduction of its massive $4.5 trillion balance sheet.

Futures traders are currently pricing in around a 78% chance of a hike at the Fed's June meeting, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool, while odds for a second rate hike by December were at about 38%.

In earnings news, Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD) reported lower quarterly losses than expected while revenue beat consensus.

Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), Best Buy Co Inc (NYSE:BBY) or Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) were on tap to report before the open, while Costco (NASDAQ:COST) will release its numbers after the market close.

Elsewhere, European stocks hovered near their highest level in in 21 months in mixed trade, with the benchmark Euro Stoxx 50 up 0.16% by 7:14AM ET (11:14GMT) while Germany's DAX and London's FTSE 100 were down 0.15% and 0.06%, respectively..

Earlier, Asian shares climbed to two-year highs, with Japan's Nikkei ending up around 0.31%, while China's Shanghai Composite surged about 1.43%.

United Arab Emirates stocks lower at close of trade; DFM General down 0.73%

2017-05-25 11:15 GMT

Investing.com – United Arab Emirates stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Consumer Staples, Insurance and Finance&Investment sectors led shares lower.

At the close in Dubai, the DFM General fell 0.73% to hit a new 3-months low, while the ADX General index fell 0.34%.

The best performers of the session on the DFM General were AJMAN BANK PJSC (DU:AJBNK), which rose 1.71% or 0.020 points to trade at 1.190 at the close. Meanwhile, National Central Cooling Co. (DU:TABR) added 1.60% or 0.030 points to end at 1.900 and Dubai Financial Market PJSC (DU:DFM) was up 0.94% or 0.010 points to 1.070 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Gulf General Investments Company (DU:GGIC), which fell 5.07% or 0.019 points to trade at 0.356 at the close. Dubai National Insurance (DU:DNIN) declined 4.06% or 0.110 points to end at 2.600 and Deyaar Development PJSC (DU:DEYR) was down 3.50% or 0.017 points to 0.469.

The top performers on the ADX General were Nat Bk Qaiwain (AD:NBQ) which rose 14.44% to 3.09, Gulf Cement Co (AD:GCEM) which was up 4.35% to settle at 0.9600 and Union Natl Bk (AD:UNB) which gained 1.63% to close at 4.990.

The worst performers were National Bank of Fujairah PJSC (AD:NBF) which was down 9.94% to 2.99 in late trade, Commercial Bank International (AD:CBI) which lost 9.52% to settle at 1.520 and Ad Aviation (AD:ADAV) which was down 7.06% to 2.500 at the close.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Dubai Stock Exchange by 26 to 8 and 2 ended unchanged; on the Abu Dhabi, 22 fell and 4 advanced, while 7 ended unchanged.

Shares in Gulf General Investments Company (DU:GGIC) fell to 3-years lows; falling 5.07% or 0.019 to 0.356. Shares in Deyaar Development PJSC (DU:DEYR) fell to 52-week lows; losing 3.50% or 0.017 to 0.469. Shares in Ad Aviation (AD:ADAV) fell to 3-years lows; down 7.06% or 0.190 to 2.500.

Crude oil for July delivery was down 1.62% or 0.83 to $50.53 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in July fell 1.39% or 0.75 to hit $53.21 a barrel, while the June Gold Futures contract rose 0.32% or 4.06 to trade at $1257.16 a troy ounce.

USD/AED was up 0.01% to 3.6731, while EUR/AED fell 0.04% to 4.1186.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.12% at 97.07.

Oil sinks on reports OPEC agrees to extend output cuts for 9 months

2017-05-25 11:00 GMT

Investing.com - Oil prices fell sharply in North American trading on Thursday, erasing overnight gains following reports that global crude producers agreed to extend production cuts for an additional nine months, while ruling out deeper cuts.

Oil's losses accelerated after OPEC agreed to extend its production cuts for nine months, according to media reports, citing a delegate at the highly anticipated meeting in Vienna.

The OPEC ministers will discuss the production accord with a group of non-OPEC members later in the day and are expected to hold a joint press conference at 17:00GMT (11:00AM ET).

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude July contract was at $50.50 a barrel by 7:00AM ET (11:50GMT), down 86 cents, or around 1.7%.

The U.S. benchmark gained more than 1% to hit its strongest since April 19 at $52.00 in overnight trade.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for July delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London shed 75 cents to $53.20 a barrel, pulling back from a session high of $54.67.

In November last year, OPEC and 11 other non-OPEC producers, including Russia, agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day between January 1 and June 30.

So far, the production-cut agreement has had little impact on global inventory levels due to rising supply from producers not participating in the accord, such as Libya, and a relentless increase in U.S. shale oil output.

Sri Lanka stocks higher at close of trade; CSE All-Share up 0.05%

2017-05-25 10:45 GMT

Investing.com – Sri Lanka stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Plantations, Footwear&Textile and Manufacturing sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Colombo, the CSE All-Share rose 0.05%.

The best performers of the session on the CSE All-Share were Nuwara Eliya Hotels Co PLC (CM:NEH), which rose 16.43% or 236.90 points to trade at 1678.90 at the close. Meanwhile, Adam Investments Ltd (CM:ADAM) added 14.29% or 0.100 points to end at 0.800 and SMB Leasing PLC (CM:SEMB) was up 14.29% or 0.1000 points to 0.8000 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were PCH Holdings PLC (CM:PCHH), which fell 10.00% or 0.100 points to trade at 0.900 at the close. Sigiriya Village Hotels PLC (CM:SIGV) declined 6.90% or 4.00 points to end at 54.00 and Radiant Gems International PLC (CM:RGEM) was down 4.91% or 1.30 points to 25.20.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Colombo Stock Exchange by 102 to 76 and 61 ended unchanged.

Crude oil for July delivery was down 1.93% or 0.99 to $50.37 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in July fell 1.69% or 0.91 to hit $53.05 a barrel, while the June Gold Futures contract rose 0.25% or 3.13 to trade at $1256.23 a troy ounce.

GBP/LKR was up 0.07% to 197.710, while USD/LKR fell 0.07% to 152.640.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.13% at 97.08.

India stocks higher at close of trade; Nifty 50 up 1.59%

2017-05-25 10:45 GMT

Investing.com – India stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Capital Goods, Banking and IT sectors led shares higher.

At the close in NSE, the Nifty 50 rose 1.59%, while the BSE Sensex 30 index climbed 1.48%.

The best performers of the session on the Nifty 50 were Larsen&Toubro Limited (NS:LART), which rose 5.01% or 84.40 points to trade at 1768.85 at the close. Meanwhile, ICICI Bank Ltd (NS:ICBK) added 3.59% or 11.00 points to end at 317.70 and IndusInd Bank Ltd. (NS:INBK) was up 3.24% or 45.85 points to 1461.60 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Lupin Ltd (NS:LUPN), which fell 7.19% or 88.30 points to trade at 1140.20 at the close. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd (NS:REDY) declined 3.54% or 89.10 points to end at 2427.70 and Cipla Ltd. (NS:CIPL) was down 3.01% or 15.65 points to 504.00.

The top performers on the BSE Sensex 30 were Larsen&Toubro Limited (BO:LART) which rose 4.97% to 1768.70, ICICI Bank Ltd (BO:ICBK) which was up 3.52% to settle at 317.60 and HDFC Bank Ltd (BO:HDBK) which gained 3.04% to close at 1617.15.

The worst performers were Lupin Ltd (BO:LUPN) which was down 7.31% to 1137.95 in late trade, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd (BO:REDY) which lost 3.70% to settle at 2427.30 and Cipla Ltd. (BO:CIPL) which was down 3.12% to 504.10 at the close.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the India National Stock Exchange by 1175 to 386 and 9 ended unchanged; on the Bombay Stock Exchange, 1836 rose and 782 declined, while 132 ended unchanged.

Shares in Larsen&Toubro Limited (NS:LART) rose to 52-week highs; up 5.01% or 84.40 to 1768.85. Shares in Lupin Ltd (NS:LUPN) fell to 52-week lows; down 7.19% or 88.30 to 1140.20. Shares in ICICI Bank Ltd (NS:ICBK) rose to 52-week highs; up 3.59% or 11.00 to 317.70. Shares in Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd (NS:REDY) fell to 52-week lows; falling 3.54% or 89.10 to 2427.70. Shares in Larsen&Toubro Limited (BO:LART) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 4.97% or 83.75 to 1768.70. Shares in Lupin Ltd (BO:LUPN) fell to 52-week lows; down 7.31% or 89.70 to 1137.95. Shares in ICICI Bank Ltd (BO:ICBK) rose to 52-week highs; gaining 3.52% or 10.80 to 317.60. Shares in Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd (BO:REDY) fell to 52-week lows; down 3.70% or 93.25 to 2427.30. Shares in HDFC Bank Ltd (BO:HDBK) rose to all time highs; rising 3.04% or 47.75 to 1617.15.

The India VIX, which measures the implied volatility of Nifty 50 options, was down 11.69% to 10.4475 a new all time low.

Gold Futures for June delivery was up 0.25% or 3.17 to $1256.27 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in July fell 1.93% or 0.99 to hit $50.37 a barrel, while the July Brent oil contract fell 1.69% or 0.91 to trade at $53.05 a barrel.

USD/INR was down 0.10% to 64.621, while EUR/INR fell 0.33% to 72.4279.

The US Dollar Index Futures was up 0.13% at 97.08.

Oil sheds gains as OPEC signals cut extension of same size

2017-05-25 09:52 GMT

Investing.com - Oil shed gains of about 1% Thursday as OPEC signals 9-month extension of output cuts of the same size.
U.S. crude was off 14 cents, or 0.27%, at $51.22 at 05:30 ET. Brent lost 4 cents, or 0.07%, to $53.92.
Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih said OPEC and non-OPEC producers are likely to agree to a nine-month extension.
However, he said deeper cuts are not needed now.
OPEC and non-OPEC producers are cutting output by 1.8 million barrels a day in the first half.

Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Thursday

2017-05-25 09:45 GMT

Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, May 25:

1. Oil swings as OPEC seems set to agree on 9-month extension

Oil prices swung between sharp gains and losses in volatile trade on Thursday, after Saudi Arabia's energy minister indicated that OPEC will extend its current output-cut deal for a further nine months.

Oil prices fell to the lowest levels of the session after Khalid al-Falih said OPEC and non-OPEC producers are likely to rule on extending production cuts for nine months, but keep them at the same level.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of oil ministers from OPEC and other major producing countries in Vienna on Thursday, the Saudi energy minister added that the consensus is that deeper cuts are not needed now.

U.S. crude was at $50.98 a barrel by 5:45AM ET (0945GMT), down 38 cents, or around 0.8%. The U.S. benchmark was up more than 1% to its strongest since April 19 at $52.00 in overnight trade.

Meanwhile, Brent lost 31 cents to $53.65, pulling back from a session high of $54.67.

2. Rate hike odds drop after Fed signals gradual tightening

Market players scaled back bets on two more rate increases from the Federal Reserve by the end of the year following somewhat dovish minutes which signaled a cautious approach to future rate hikes.

Futures traders are currently pricing in around an 77% chance of a hike at the Fed's June meeting, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool, while odds for a second rate hike by December were at about 40%.

Minutes from the Fed's last policy meeting showed policymakers agreed they should hold off on raising interest rates until it was clear a recent U.S. economic slowdown was temporary, though most said a hike was coming soon. The minutes also showed that policymakers favored a gradual reduction of its massive $4.5 trillion balance sheet.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was up 0.1% at 97.05 in New York morning trade, keeping distance from six-and-a-half-month lows of 96.70 touched earlier in the week.

On the data front, Thursday's calendar features a report on weekly jobless claims at 8:30AM ET (12:30GMT), as well as an advanced reading on international trade figures.

3. Global stocks move higher after Fed minutes, OPEC in focus

Global stock markets were mostly higher on Thursday, as investors parsed the latest minutes from the Federal Reserve and major oil producers gathered for a closely-watched meeting in Vienna.

Asian shares scaled two-year highs, with Japan's Nikkei ending up around 0.3%, while China's Shanghai Composite surged about 1.5%.

In Europe, stocks across the continent inched back toward the highest level in 21 months, with Germany's DAX rising 0.1% in mid-morning trade, while London's FTSE 100 gained 0.1%.

On Wall Street, the blue-chip Dow futures pointed to an increase of 77 points, or around 0.4% at the open, the S&P 500 futures ticked up 7 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 19 points.

Most earnings are now out of the way, but retailers such as, Sears Holdings (NASDAQ:SHLD), Abercrombie & Fitch (NYSE:ANF), Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR), Signet Jewelers (NYSE:SIG), Burlington Stores (NYSE:BURL), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and Costco (NASDAQ:COST), will be among companies reporting earnings Thursday.

4. U.K. economic growth revised lower in first quarter

Britain's economy slowed more than previously thought in the first three months of 2017, expanding at the weakest pace in a year as rising inflation took a toll on household spending, official figures showed on Thursday.

Gross domestic product grew by just 0.2% compared with an earlier estimate of 0.3%, the ONS said. Year-on-year growth in early 2017 fell to 2.0% from an initial estimate of 2.1% growth. Most economists had forecast the rate of growth would stay unchanged.

Sterling was changing hands at 1.2955 against the dollar, down from around 1.2995 earlier (GBP/USD). Against the euro, sterling was at 0.8661, from around 0.8651 earlier (EUR/GBP).

5. Bitcoin rally keeps going; tops $2,600

Bitcoin cleared the $2,600-level for the first time on Thursday to hit yet another all-time high, as a monster rally continues amid bullish noises around the future of the cryptocurrency.

Prices of the digital currency rose to a daily peak of $2,694.99 on the New York-based itBit exchange at one point, its highest on record. Other big exchanges such as Poloniex, BTC-e, Bitfinex, Kraken and BitStamp also showed the cryptocurrency rising above the $2,600-level early Thursday.

Prices are up almost 100% so far in May. Since the start of the year, the price of bitcoin has soared roughly 180%, taking the total value of the cryptocurrency in circulation to around $43 billion.

Dollar steady near 6-month lows after Fed minutes

2017-05-25 09:20 GMT

Investing.com - The dollar held steady near six-month lows against other major currencies on Thursday, after the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest policy meeting sparked uncertainty over the timing of the next U.S. rate hike.

EUR/USD edged up 0.12% to 1.1230, just off Tuesday’s six-month high of 1.1268.

The minutes of the Fed’s May meeting released late Wednesday showed that the central bank plans to unwind its balance sheet towards the end of the year, possibly using a system where cap limits are implemented on how much the Fed would roll off every month without reinvesting.

The Fed also signaled that interest rates could be raised soon, but added that "it would be prudent" to wait for more U.S. economic data.

Elsewhere, GBP/USD was little changed at 1.2968 after the U.K. Office for National Statistics said gross domestic product was revised down to 0.2% in the three months to March from the first estimate of 0.3%. It was the weakest growth since the first quarter of 2016.

USD/JPY gained 0.25% to 111.78, while USD/CHF slipped 0.11% to trade at 0.9717.

The Australian and New Zealand dollars were weaker, with AUD/USD down 0.52% at 0.7466 and with NZD/USD declining 0.35% to 0.7024.

Meanwhile, USD/CAD edged up 0.19% to trade at 1.3431 after hitting a five-week low of 1.3388 overnight.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, was steady at 96.96, not far from Tuesday’s six-month low of 96.70.

Oil swings sharply after OPEC indicates 9-month extension to output cuts

2017-05-25 08:53 GMT

Investing.com - Oil prices swung into negative territory in European trading on Thursday, after being up more than 1% earlier after Saudi Arabia's energy minister indicated that OPEC will extend its current output-cut deal for a further nine months.

Oil prices fell sharply after Khalid al-Falih said OPEC and non-OPEC producers are likely to rule on extending production cuts for 9 months, but keep them at the same level.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of oil ministers from OPEC and other major producing countries in Vienna on Thursday, the Saudi energy minister added that the consensus is that deeper cuts are not needed now.

The U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude July contract was at $51.05 a barrel by 4:50AM ET (08:50GMT), down 34 cents, or around 0.7%. The U.S. benchmark gained more than 1% to hit its strongest since April 19 at $51.93 in overnight trade.

Elsewhere, Brent oil for July delivery on the ICE Futures Exchange in London shed 18 cents to $53.78 a barrel, pulling back from a session high of $54.66.

In November last year, OPEC and 11 other non-OPEC producers, including Russia, agreed to cut output by about 1.8 million barrels per day between January 1 and June 30.

So far, the production-cut agreement has had little impact on global inventory levels due to rising supply from producers not participating in the accord, such as Libya, and a relentless increase in U.S. shale oil output.

Sterling pares gains after UK GDP revised lower

2017-05-25 08:52 GMT

Investing.com - The pound pared back gains against the dollar on Thursday after data showing that Britain’s economic growth in the first quarter was weaker than initially estimated.

GBP/USD was trading at 1.2986 by 08.51 GMT, up 0.12% for the day from around 1.2995 earlier.

The Office for National Statistics reported that gross domestic product was revised down to 0.2% in the three months to March from the first estimate of 0.3%. It was the weakest growth since the first quarter of 2016.

The dominant UK service sector grew by just 0.2%, down from the initial estimate of 0.3% as consumer spending was hit by rising inflation, due to the weaker pound.

Against the euro, sterling was little changed, with EUR/GBP at 0.8657,from around 0.8651 earlier.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar remained on the defensive after the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting tempered some more hawkish rate hike expectations.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, dipped 0.1% to 96.85.

Fed officials agreed they should hold off on raising interest rates until it was clear a recent U.S. economic slowdown was temporary, though most said a hike was coming soon, minutes from their last policy meeting showed on Wednesday.

The minutes did little to alter investors’ expectations for a June rate hike but indicated a greater degree of caution among officials towards future rate hikes.

The dollar has already come under pressure in the past week as expectations for fiscal stimulus under the Trump administration have faded amid political turmoil in Washington.

Philippines stocks higher at close of trade; PSEi Composite up 0.43%

2017-05-25 08:35 GMT

Investing.com – Philippines stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Services, Property and Mining&Oil sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Philippines, the PSEi Composite added 0.43%.

The best performers of the session on the PSEi Composite were PLDT Inc (PS:TEL), which rose 6.38% or 103.00 points to trade at 1718.00 at the close. Meanwhile, LT Group Inc (PS:LTG) added 5.00% or 0.800 points to end at 16.800 and Globe Telecom Inc (PS:GLO) was up 4.66% or 94.00 points to 2110.00 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Universal Robina Corp (PS:URC), which fell 1.76% or 3.00 points to trade at 167.00 at the close. JG Summit Holdings Inc (PS:JGS) declined 1.36% or 1.150 points to end at 83.250 and Manila Electric Co (PS:MER) was down 1.08% or 3.00 points to 274.00.

Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Philippines Stock Exchange by 104 to 84 and 52 ended unchanged.

Gold Futures for June delivery was up 0.45% or 5.62 to $1258.72 a troy ounce. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Crude oil for delivery in July fell 0.31% or 0.16 to hit $51.20 a barrel, while the July Brent oil contract fell 0.13% or 0.07 to trade at $53.89 a barrel.

CNY/PHP was up 0.10% to 7.2616, while USD/PHP fell 0.31% to 49.829.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.13% at 96.82.

Japan stocks higher at close of trade; Nikkei 225 up 0.36%

2017-05-25 08:35 GMT

Investing.com – Japan stocks were higher after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Power, Banking and Paper&Pulp sectors led shares higher.

At the close in Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 added 0.36%.

The best performers of the session on the Nikkei 225 were Softbank Corp. (T:9984), which rose 3.57% or 304.5 points to trade at 8825.5 at the close. Meanwhile, Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. (T:5801) added 3.49% or 165.0 points to end at 4890.0 and Konami Corp. (T:9766) was up 3.47% or 180.0 points to 5360.0 in late trade.

The worst performers of the session were Furukawa Co., Ltd. (T:5715), which fell 3.50% or 7.0 points to trade at 193.0 at the close. Tosoh Corp. (T:4042) declined 3.29% or 32.0 points to end at 940.0 and Tokai Carbon Co., Ltd. (T:5301) was down 2.82% or 16.0 points to 552.0.

Falling stocks outnumbered advancing ones on the Tokyo Stock Exchange by 1610 to 1406 and 357 ended unchanged.

Shares in Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. (T:5801) rose to 5-year highs; rising 3.49% or 165.0 to 4890.0. Shares in Konami Corp. (T:9766) rose to all time highs; gaining 3.47% or 180.0 to 5360.0.

The Nikkei Volatility, which measures the implied volatility of Nikkei 225 options, was down 5.35% to 15.21.

Crude oil for July delivery was down 0.31% or 0.16 to $51.20 a barrel. Elsewhere in commodities trading, Brent oil for delivery in July fell 0.11% or 0.06 to hit $53.90 a barrel, while the June Gold Futures contract rose 0.45% or 5.60 to trade at $1258.70 a troy ounce.

USD/JPY was up 0.21% to 111.73, while EUR/JPY rose 0.47% to 125.66.

The US Dollar Index Futures was down 0.12% at 96.83.

Global stocks up after Fed minutes, OPEC meeting ahead

2017-05-25 08:27 GMT

Investing,com - Global stocks higher Thursday as the latest Fed meeting minutes signal gradual tightening.
{178|Nikkei 225}} up 0.31% as yen falls against the dollar. Shanghai composite rebounds after China downgrade.
Europe higher. DAX up 0.14%. Euro moves back above $1.12 mark.
FTSE 100 off 0.01%. Sterling firm a tad below $1.30. U.K. Q1 GDP revision ahead.
U.S. stock index futures higher as Wall St closes higher overnight.
Dollar index falls back below 97 mark as Fed in no hurry to tighten.
Oil higher in anticipation OPEC meeting will agree extension of output cut deal.
Gold, industrial metals recover after China downgrade. U.S. Treasury yields lower after Fed minutes.

Dollar on back foot after Fed minutes, euro pushes higher

2017-05-25 08:00 GMT

Investing.com - The dollar was on the back foot on Thursday after the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting tempered some more hawkish rate hike expectations, while the euro re-approached six-and-a-half month highs.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback’s strength against a trade-weighted basket of six major currencies, dipped 0.1% to 96.86 by 07.33 GMT.

Fed officials agreed they should hold off on raising interest rates until it was clear a recent U.S. economic slowdown was temporary, though most said a hike was coming soon, minutes from their last policy meeting showed on Wednesday.

The minutes did little to alter investors’ expectations for a June rate hike but indicated a greater degree of caution among officials towards future rate hikes.

The dollar has already come under pressure in the past week as expectations for fiscal stimulus under the Trump administration have faded amid political turmoil in Washington.

EUR/USD was up 0.19% at 1.1240, climbing back towards the six-and-a-half month peak of 1.1268 set on Tuesday.

The dollar was higher against the yen, with USD/JPY rising 0.33% to 111.86, closing back in on the one-week high of 112.130 scaled the previous day.

The dollar was lower against the Swiss franc, with USD/CHF sliding 0.14% to 0.9714, not far from Monday’s seven-month trough of 0.9691.

Sterling edged higher, with GBP/USD inching up 0.12% to 1.2985 ahead of revised data on UK first quarter growth, which was expected to confirm that the economy expanded by a modest 0.3% in the three months to March.

Meanwhile, the Australian and New Zealand dollars were lower, with AUD/USD down 0.28% at 0.7484 and NZD/USD losing 0.3% to trade at 0.7027.

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