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Asia Pacific Market: Stocks hurt by geopolitical tensions
Apr 11,2017

Asia Pacific share market closed mostly lower on Tuesday, 11 April 2017, as tensions over North Korea and Syria thwarted risk appetite. Uncertainty over Frances presidential election this month and the rise of the far right also weighed on sentiment.

Geopolitical concerns remained a drag on risk sentiment after U.S. military strikes in Syria last week and recent missile tests by North Korea. China and South Korea have reportedly agreed to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea if it carries out nuclear tests and the U.S. is moving an aircraft carrier to waters off the Korean peninsula. North Korea is ready to react to any mode of war desired by the U.S., state-run Korean Central News Agency quoted a foreign ministry spokesman as saying.

In France, polls for many weeks have been showing centrist Emmanuel Macron and far-right leader Marine Le Pen on track to top the first round of voting on 23 April and go through to a 7 May runoff.

Meanwhile, industrial production in the eurozone dropped unexpectedly in February from the month before, led by falling energy output, the European Unions statistics agency said. Output of the eurozones factory, mines and utilities decreased by 0.3% from the month before, but rose by 1.2% from February last year, Eurostat said.

Among Asian bourses

Australia Shares hit fresh two-year high

Australian equity market advanced for third straight session, hitting a fresh two-year high as energy and big banks stocks gained ground. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index inclined 0.36% to 5,934.20.

Shares of energy sector inclined on tracking a rise in global oil prices, due to Middle East supply concerns. Crude oil climbed to a five-week high on Tuesday, underpinned by a shutdown at Libyas largest oilfield over the weekend and on geopolitical uncertainty in Syria. The Libyan outage added fuel to a rally that started late last week after the United States fired missiles at a Syrian government air base. While Syria produces only small volumes of oil, the Middle East is home to more than a quarter of the worlds oil output. Woodside Petroleum was up 1.5% to A$33.71, while Oil Search gained 0.8% to A$7.55.

Financials accounted for most of the market gains, with all four big four banks closed in positive territory, led by National Australia Bank, which was up 1.3% to A$33.09. Commonwealth Bank of Australia, the countrys biggest mortgage lender, rose by 0.8% to A$86.20. Westpac Banking added 1.5% to A$34.95, and Australia & New Zealand Banking added 0.6% to A$31.88.

Material stocks were mixed, with Rio Tinto higher by 2% to A$62.07 while Fortescue Metals shed 1.6% to A$6. Shares in BHP Billiton were down 1.4% to A$25.36 after the mining giant rebuffed a proposal by hedge fund Elliott Advisors to restructure the business by shedding its dual Australia-UK listing and spinning off its petroleum business.

Japan Stocks fall on geopolitical tensions

The Japan share market closed down, a with investor sentiment subdued by a yens appreciation against the U.S. dollar and rising geopolitical tensions after North Korea on Tuesday denounced Washingtons deployment of a naval strike group to the Korean peninsula, warning it was ready for war. The deployment comes days after an American cruise missile strike on Syria that was widely interpreted as putting Pyongyang on warning over its refusal to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Uncertainty over Frances presidential election this month and the rise of the far right also weighed on sentiment. At the close, the benchmark Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.27%, or 50.01 points, to sit at 18,747.87, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues fell 0.3%, or 4.55 points, to 1,495.10.

Shares of export-related stocks declined on tracking yen appreciation against greenback. Currency traders pushed into the yen, which is seen as a safe investment in times of uncertainty or turmoil. The dollar slipped to 110.71 yen from 110.89 yen in New York. A stronger yen is seen as a negative for Japans exporters as it can dent their profitability by reducing the value of overseas earnings. The dollar-yen rate also weakened in response to US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellens saying the central bank would keep to its plans to raise interest rates only gradually.

Isuzu Motors fell 1.3% to 1,427 yen, Hino Motors shed 1.2% to 1,290 yen, and Panasonic Corp was down 0.4% at 1,266 yen.

Toshiba Corp declined 2.7% to 224 yen, as it faced a looming deadline Tuesday to publish a long-overdue earnings report. If Toshiba fails to release its financial results and regulators refuse to grant another extension, it faces the prospect of being delisted from Tokyos bourse.

Financials were also lower. Mizuho Financial Group decreased 0.8% to 194.70 yen, while Daiwa Securities Group sank 1.7% to 659.30 yen.

Bucking the downward trend, jewellery store operator Yondoshi Holdings rose 2.1% to 2,621 yen, after forecasting Monday an 11.8% rise in group net profit for the current business year through February.

China Stocks gain to 4-month high

The Mainland China equity market recouped early losses to finish at a 15-month high, with stocks related to the Xiongan New Area being major gainers. The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.35% to 3,517.33 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6% to 3,288.97 points.

Stocks related to the Xiongan New Area expected to benefit from government plans announcement on 8 April 2017 to build Xiongan New Area, modeled on the Shenzhen special economic zone next to Hong Kong that helped kickstart Chinas economic reforms in 1980.

An index tracking major developers rose for fifth straight session, with developers operating in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei area expected to benefit handsomely from the development of Xiongan New Area.

Banks continued to drag on the market after the countrys banking regulator said it had issued guidelines on risk control for lenders as authorities increased their efforts to contain risks from a rapid build-up in debt.

Hong Kong Stocks down on weak global cues

The Hong Kong stock market closed session down for fourth straight session in cautious trade, amid geopolitical uncertainties of East Asia. The benchmark index opened up 18 points at 24,280. It then moved down, and hit an intra-day low of 24,007 (down 255 points) at one stage. But A-share market rally help support the local sentiment. The benchmark Hang Seng index dropped 0.7% at the close, to 24,088.46, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.9%, to 10,165.98. Turnover increased to HK$76.8 billion from HK$65 billion on Monday.

Shares of coal miners declined as Coal prices slumped nearly 4.8% on Tuesday, after Chinas customs department issued an official order telling trading companies to return their North Korean coal cargoes.

Energy stocks were the biggest losers in a board-based decline, with an index tracking the sector shedding 1.3%. Kunlun Energy (00135) plunged 4.5% to HK$7.59. It was the top blue-chip loser. The trio PetroChina (00857), Sinopec (00386) CNOOC (00883) slipped 1% to HK$5.68, HK$6.41 and HK$9.39.

Defense counters saw buying orders amid political turmoil. North Korea official news agency said the US deployed its aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in Korean peninsula demonstrated that its ambition to invade North Korea. COMEC (00317) gained 1.4% to HK$17.62.

Sensex, Nifty snap three-day losing streak

Key benchmark indices settled with decent gains despite a weak trend witnessed in most of the global markets. The barometer index, the S&P BSE Sensex, rose 212.61 points or 0.72% to settle at 29,788.35. The Nifty 50 index gained 55.55 points or 0.61% to settle at 9,237. Gains were led by index heavyweights ITC, ICICI Bank, Infosys and L&T. Key indices snapped three-day losing streak today, 11 April 2017.

Suzlon Energy rose 1.55% after the company said it has won a repeat order of 50.40 megawatts (MW) wind power project in Karnataka from a leading independent power producer (IPP) company. The project will be completed by June 2017. Suzlon will execute the entire project on a turnkey basis and will also provide operation and maintenance services. The announcement was made after market hours yesterday, 10 April 2017.

NTPC advanced 0.33% after the company said that Bangladesh India Friendship Power Company (BIFPCL), a 50:50 joint venture company between NTPC and Bangladesh Power Development Board (BPDB) has achieved financial closure on 10 April 2017 to set up 1320 megawatts (MW) (2 x 660 MW) coal based Maitree Super Thermal Power Project at Rampal in Bagerhat District of Khulna division, Bangladesh.

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Japan Stocks fall on geopolitical tensions
Apr 11,2017

The Japan share market closed down on Tuesday, 11 April 2017, a with investor sentiment subdued by a yens appreciation against the U.S. dollar and rising geopolitical tensions after North Korea on Tuesday denounced Washingtons deployment of a naval strike group to the Korean peninsula, warning it was ready for war. The deployment comes days after an American cruise missile strike on Syria that was widely interpreted as putting Pyongyang on warning over its refusal to abandon its nuclear ambitions. Uncertainty over Frances presidential election this month and the rise of the far right also weighed on sentiment. At the close, the benchmark Nikkei Stock Average fell 0.27 percent, or 50.01 points, to sit at 18,747.87, while the broader Topix index of all first-section issues fell 0.3 percent, or 4.55 points, to 1,495.10.

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China Stocks gain to 4-month high
Apr 11,2017

The Mainland China equity market recouped early losses to finish at a 15-month high on Tuesday, 11 April 2017, with stocks related to the Xiongan New Area being major gainers. The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.35 per cent to 3,517.33 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.6 per cent to 3,288.97 points.

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Hong Kong Stocks down on weak global cues
Apr 11,2017

The Hong Kong stock market closed session down for fourth straight session in cautious trade on Tuesday, 11 April 2017, amid geopolitical uncertainties of East Asia. The benchmark index opened up 18 points at 24,280. It then moved down, and hit an intra-day low of 24,007 (down 255 points) at one stage. But A-share market rally help support the local sentiment. The benchmark Hang Seng index dropped 0.7 per cent at the close, to 24,088.46, while the Hong Kong China Enterprises Index lost 0.9 per cent, to 10,165.98. Turnover increased to HK$76.8 billion from HK$65 billion on Monday.

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US stocks eke out gains
Apr 11,2017

U.S. stocks eked out gains on Monday, 10 April 2017 as strength in energy shares helped to offset selling pressure sparked by geopolitical concerns, but market sentiment remained cautious going into the first-quarter earnings season.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.92 points to finish at 20,658.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 3.11 points to end at 5,880.93. The S&P 500 index edged up 1.62 points to close at 2,357.16.

The stock market opened the week with a win, but concerns over heightened geopolitical tensions held gains in check throughout the session.

The days strongest sector was energy which rose 0.8% on the back of a firm gains in crude-oil prices. Crude has been in an uptrend, rising nearly 10% over the past two weeks and hitting its highest level since early March. A recent move higher followed the U.S. airstrike on Syria. Increased tension in the Middle East tends to boost oil prices by limiting supply levels.

Financials were among the weakest sectors of the day, with Bank of America down 0.6%, while Wells Fargo & Co. lost 0.6%.

Both energy and financials have been in focus of late as investors await earnings. On the flip side, the financials and telecom services groups settled at the bottom of the days leaderboard while the health care and technology groups performed only modestly better. The top-weighted technology sector suffered from a lackluster performance from Apple and selling pressure within the semiconductor industry.

Bullion metals ended lower at Comex on Monday, 10 APril 2017. Gold settled with a loss on Monday, after a brief rebound attempt failed to lift prices past a key technical level.

June gold fell $3.40, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,253.90 an ounce. During the session, however, prices briefly turned higher to touch an intraday high of $1,258.90. Meanwhile, silver for May delivery lost 23.6 cents, or 1.3%, to end at $17.915 an ounce.

Crude oil futures settled higher on Monday, 10 April 2017 stretching their wining streak to a fifth consecutive session, as the shutdown of Libyas largest oil field and uncertainty in the Middle East, following the U.S. airstrike on Syria, raised concerns over disruptions to global crude supplies. The U.S. benchmark has now posted gains in nine of the past 10 sessions.

May West Texas Intermediate crude tacked on 84 cents, or 1.6%, to settle at $53.08 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was the highest settlement since 7 March 2017.June Brent crude on Londons ICE Futures exchange added 74 cents, or 1.3%, to $55.98 a barrel.

Geopolitics remained front and center, not just in the Middle East. Libyas Sharara oil field was shut down on Sunday after an unknown group blocked a pipelinen++just a week after a previous shutdown.

The dollar, as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index was down 0.2% in Monday dealings, helping dollar-denominated gold prices trade above the sessions worst levels. A weaker dollar tends to support commodities priced in the currency lifting their appeal to buyers using other monetary units.

In the Treasury market, the benchmark 10-yr yield settled two basis points lower at 2.36%.

Investors did not receive any economic data on Monday.

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US stocks end marginally lower
Apr 10,2017

U.S. stocks closed fractionally lower on Friday, 07 April 2017 posting weekly losses after staggering through a choppy session as investors digested weaker-than-expected March jobs data and President Donald Trumps late Thursday airstrike against Syria.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished down 6.85 points at 20,656.10. The Nasdaq Composite Index finished down 1.14 points at 5,877.81. The S&P 500 declined 1.95 points to close at 2,355.54, with six out of the indexs 11 sectors finishing lower as utilities, consumer-discretionary, and financials led decliners.

For the week, the Dow industrials declined less than 0.1%, while the S&P 500 shed 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite Index fell 0.6%.

Wal-Mart Stores and defense contractor Boeing led gainers, while DuPont and Walt Disney weighed on the average.

Overnight, the U.S. Navy launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at the Shayrat base in Syria. The news of missile strikes weighed on equity futures, but a swift rebound took place in time for the release of the Employment Situation report for March.

Latest employment report stated that the U.S. economy created just 98,000 new jobs in March, well below the 185,000 consensus figure that was forecast. The unemployment rate, however, fell to 4.5% from 4.7% as the number of people who found work outstripped the labor force.

Bullion prices ended mixed at Comex on Friday, 07 April 2017 at Comex. Gold futures finished with gains on Friday, but ended well off a five-month high set earlier in the session, as strength in the U.S. dollar and a rebound in stocks cut into the rally that followed U.S. airstrikes on Syria. A much weaker-than-expected March jobs report had helped the yellow metal to extend gains, but the yellow metal pulled back later as the dollar rose.

Gold for June delivery rose $4 or 0.3%, to end at $1,257.30 an ounce. For the week, gold advanced 0.5%, while May silver SIK7, gave up earlier gains to end at $18.151 an ounce, down 9.5 cents, or 0.5%. Silver booked a weekly decline of 0.5%.

Oil futures ended at a one-month high on Friday, 07 April 2017 after a U.S. airstrike on Syria, though gains were capped by expectations risks to Middle East output would be limited. Crude held gains after data from oil-field services firm Baker Hughes showed U.S. producers added 10 oil rigs this week, bringing the total number to 672.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in May finished at $52.24 a barrel, a gain of 54 cents, or 1.04%. Oil had jumped 2.4% in electronic trade following the strikes. For the week, the U.S. benchmark rose 3.2%. June Brent crude on Londons ICE Futures exchange rose 35 cents, or 0.6%, to close at $55.24 a barrel after briefly dipping into negative territory after U.S. jobs data. Brent rose 3.2% for the week.

Treasuries spiked to highs immediately after the release of the jobs report, but reversed in short order and continued sliding into the close. The 2-yr yield (1.27%) and the 10-yr yield (2.37%) jumped three basis points apiece while the long bond resisted the pressure. The 30-yr yield increased one basis point to 3.00%.

Investor participation was a bit below average as 935 million shares changed hands at the NYSE floor.

Investors will not receive any economic data on Monday.

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China Stocks gain to 4-month highs
Apr 06,2017

The Mainland China equity market advanced to hit 4-month highs on Thursday, 06 April 2017, as investors continued to chase stocks which could benefit from the governments launch of a massive new economic zone near Beijing. The blue-chip CSI300 index rose 0.3% to 3,514.05 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.4% to 3,281.00. Shenzhens Component Index rose 0.3 per cent to 10,656.2 and the Nasdaq-like ChiNext edged up 0.06 per cent to 1,944.2.

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Japan Stocks end down on Fed minutes, firm yen
Apr 06,2017

The Japan share market closed down on Thursday, 06 April 2017, as weak U.S. shares overnight and the yens advance against the U.S. dollar weighed on market sentiment. Risk sentiments also weighed down on caution ahead of a two-day meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping starting later in the day in Florida. Concerns over North Korea also weighed on the market. The benchmark Nikkei Stock Average fell 264.21 points, or 1.4%, to 18597.06, its lowest level since Dec. 7. The Topix index of all the Tokyo Stock Exchange First Section issues fell 24.48 points, or 1.6%, to 1480.18.

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Australia Shares fall on Fed
Apr 06,2017

Australian equity market closed down on Thursday, 06 April 2017, on following Wall Streets fall overnight, after the release of minutes from the U.S. Federal Reserve suggested the central bank was considering unwinding its easing program later this year. Investors were also wary ahead of a potentially tense meeting later on Thursday between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping. Topping the agenda will be whether Trump makes good on his threat to use U.S.-China trade ties to pressure Beijing to do more to rein in its nuclear-armed neighbour North Korea. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index declined 0.34% to 5,856.30.

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US stocks end in the red
Apr 06,2017

U.S. stocks ended lower on Wednesday, 05 April 2017 suffering a late selloff after minutes of the Federal Reserves March meeting showed policy makers plan to begin unwinding the central banks gigantic balance sheet before the end of the year. Stocks started strong out of the gate following an upbeat ADP Employment Change Report on Wednesday morning, but the hawkish tone of the FOMC Minutes prompted an afternoon retreat.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average which had earlier been up nearly 200 points, closed with a loss of 41.09 points, or 0.2%, at 20,648.15. The Nasdaq Composite Index which had reached an all-time intraday high of 5,936.39, closed down 34.13 points, or 0.6%, to 5,864.48. The S&P 500 which had been up 18 points earlier in the session, finished down 7.21 points, or 0.3%, at 2,352.95

19 of the 30 blue-chip companies finished lower. Shares of J.P. Morgan Chase & Co, Cisco Systems and IBM led decliners.

Nine of the 11 main sectors closed lower with financials and telecom stocks leading decliners. Energy shares finished down 0.3% after leading gains earlier in the session.

Markets appeared to shrug off geopolitical news coming from North Korea, which launched another intermediate-range missile, and a chemical attack in Syria that left hundreds dead. There was also little reaction to news that Jeffrey Lacker, a hawkish policy maker who isnt a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, dramatically quit on Tuesday after disclosing he leaked confidential material on the central banks plans.

The release of the minutes from the Federal Reserves meeting in March revealed that it would like to start reducing the Feds balance sheet later in the year. In addition, the Minutes showed that some Fed officials are worried about high equity valuations. Stocks held steady immediately following the report, but the hawkish tone eventually seeped in, sending the cash market into the red.

The minutes indicated that the Fed is likely to start shrinking its balance sheet this year in line with its tighter monetary-policy regime. Higher rates tend to strengthen the dollar which in turn makes assets priced in the U.S. currency more expensive.

The two-day summit between Trump and Chinas President Xi was still in focus for investors, who are looking for clues on ramifications for trade and the dollar. Xis visit to Mar-a-Lago in Florida begins Thursday.

Among economic data expected for the day, investors received March ADP Employment Change, March ISM Services, and the weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index. The ADP National Employment Report showed an increase of 263,000 in March (consensus 175,000) while the February reading was revised lower to 245,000 from 298,000. The ADP reading precedes Fridays more influential Employment Situation Report for March, which the consensus expects will show the addition of 180,000 nonfarm payrolls. The Employment Situation Report for February indicated that nonfarm payrolls increased by 235,000.

The ISM Services Index for March declined to 55.2 from an unrevised reading of 57.6 in February while the consensus expected a downtick to 57.0. The key takeaway from the report is that growth in the services sector, which accounts for a much bigger slice of economic activity than the manufacturing sector does, persisted for the 87th straight month.

Separately, the weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index decreased 1.6% to follow last weeks 0.8% decline.

Crude oil futures ended modestly higher on Wednesday, 05 April 2017 trimming sharp, early gains, after government data showed an unexpected rise in U.S. crude inventories, disappointing bullish traders looking for signs of shrinking stockpiles.

Crude oil for May delivery rose 12 cents or 0.2%, to close at $51.15 a barrel, but well off a session high of $51.88. Brent oiln++the international benchmarkn++rose 19 cents, or 0.4%, to close at $54.36 a barrel.

But upside momentum was dented after the Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories rose by 1.6 million barrels last week. Market had forecast a 200,000 barrel decline in inventories. There was some disappointment in smaller-than-expected declines in gasoline and distillate inventories, which fell by 600,000 barrels and 500,000 barrels, respectively. Market had forecast a 1.6 million barrel drop in gasoline demand and a 700,000 barrel fall in distillate supplies, which include diesel and heating oil.

Gold prices retreated on Wednesday, 05 April 2017 at Comex after a reading of private-sector employment came in stronger than expected, steering buying to assets perceived as risky such as stocks.

June gold fell $9.90, or 0.8%, to settle at $1,248.50 an ounce, logging its first decline out of the past four sessions. Silver for May delivery dropped 13 cents, or 0.7%, to settle at $18.18 an ounce.

In the Treasury market, Treasuries experienced increased demand in the wake of the FOMC Minutes. The benchmark 10-yr yield finished four basis points lower at 2.33%.

Tomorrow, March Challenger Job Cuts will be released at 7:30 ET while Initial Claims (consensus 245,000) will cross the wires at 8:30 ET.

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US stocks end higher
Mar 31,2017

U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday, 30 March 2017 as financial shares rallied following a positive reading of economic growth and the tech-heavy Nasdaq returned to finish in record territory after a month-long wait.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 69.17 points, or 0.3%, at 20,728.49. gainers. The S&P 500 index closed up 6.93 points, or 0.3%, at 2,368.06, with seven out of the indexs 11 sectors finishing higher, led by gains in the financials, energy and industrial sectors.

The Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 16.80 points, or 0.3%, to close at a record 5,914.34 n++ its first record closing since March 1, and the 21st of the year n++ as it logged its fifth straight session of gains.

The S&P 500 moved into positive territory for March, up 0.2%, while the Dow remains down 0.4% for the month. The Nasdaq is up 1.5% in March.

Earlier, the government said the U.S. economy, as measured by gross domestic product, expanded at a 2.1% annualized pace in the fourth quarter, slightly faster than the previously reported 1.9% rate. Separately, jobless claims fell by 3,000 to 258,000 in the latest week, near their lowest level in decades.

The data helped support the gain in financial stocks, which are closely correlated to the pace of economic growth.

Muted trading has been the norm since Friday, when the Republican-led health-care bill was pulled from the House floor after the White House was unable to overcome resistance from a conservative GOP faction, the House Freedom Caucus. The failure raised questions about the Trump administrations ability to pass its economic agenda, which had been seen as market-friendly.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester forecast GDP growth above 2% in 2017, and sees a n++sustained returnn++ to 2% inflation n++over the next year or so.n++ Mester also expects the Fed to raise interest rates again this year, but didnt say how many times might be likely. Currently, market participants anticipate three or four hikes in total over 2017.

Oil prices rose for a third straight session on Thursday, 30 March 2017 with U.S. benchmark crude topping $50 a barrel to finish at a more than three-week high. Larger-than-expected drawdowns in U.S. petroleum-product stockpiles and gains in refinery activity raised expectations of stronger demand for crude. Growing expectations that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries would agree to extend its production-cut agreement also contributed to oils price climb. Natural-gas prices, meanwhile, extended earlier declines after a weekly decline in domestic inventories of the fuel was in line with market expectations.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery added 84 cents, or 1.7%, to settle at $50.35 a barrel. May Brent crude on Londons ICE Futures exchange rose 54 cents, or 1%, to $52.96, with the contract set to expire at Fridays settlement.

Bullion prices settled lower on Thursday, 30 March 2017. Gold prices fell adding to a monthly loss, as the U.S. dollar regained its footing above a key technical level and equities traded mostly higher, drawing some investor attention away from the precious metal.

June gold which is now the most-active contract, fell $8.80, or 0.7%, to settle at $1,248 an ounce. The June contract, which ended flat on Tuesday and lost roughly 0.2% on Wednesday, marked its lowest settlement since March 20. For the month, gold futures traded about 0.7% lower, but have gained 8.1% year to date. May silver ended at $18.206 an ounce, down 4.6 cents, or 0.3%.

The retreat for gold on Thursday came as the dollar, measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index climbed back above 100 after previously slipping below that level amid growing doubts about President Donald Trumps ability to implement dollar-boosting fiscal policies. The euro also weakened after a news report said European Central Bank officials had been alarmed by the market reaction to its March policy meeting.

A stronger dollar can weigh on commodities priced in the currency, making them less attractive to purchasers using other monetary units. The ICE U.S. Dollar Index was up 0.4% at 100.37, on track for a 0.6% gain this week.

Tomorrow, investors will receive a slew of economic reports, including February Personal Income (consensus 0.4%), Personal Spending (consensus 0.2%), and PCE Price Index (consensus 0.1%) at 8:30 ET, March Chicago PMI (consensus 55.8) at 9:45 ET, and the final University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment reading (consensus 97.6) at 10:00 ET.

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China Stocks extend fall on liquidity woes
Mar 29,2017

The Mainland China equity market ended down for third straight session on Wednesday, 29 March 2017, amid concerns about tightening liquidity conditions after the central bank refrained from injecting short-term funds into the banking system for the fourth session in a row. The blue-chip CSI300 index fell 0.1%, to 3,465.19 points, while the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4% to 3,241.31 points. The Shenzhen Composite Index extended losses by sliding 0.7% to 2,019 while the ChiNext start-up board index closed down 0.8% to 1,929

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Australia Shares at near 2-year highs on financials support
Mar 29,2017

Australian equities continued uptrend on Wednesday, 29 March 2017, pushing the benchmark indices to a near two-year high, underpinned by optimism over earnings for the financial sector after the countrys big four banks raised their home loan rates recently. At the close, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index finished at 0.9% higher or 52.26 points to 5873.5, its strongest level since mid-April 2015. Rising stocks outnumbered declining ones on the Australia Stock Exchange by 637 to 455 and 351 ended unchanged. The S&P/ASX 200 VIX, which measures the implied volatility of S&P/ASX 200 options, was down 4.26% to 11.748.

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Broad based rally at Wall Street
Mar 29,2017

U.S. stocks posted broad-based gains on Tuesday, 28 March 2017 with the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapping its eight-day losing streak, as investors cheered better-than-expected economic data. Attracting the most attention was a reading of consumer confidence in March, which soared to the highest level in more than 16 years. Separately, U.S. house prices roared to their highest in nearly three years as demand remains brisk.

The Dow rose 150.52 points, or 0.7%, to close at 20,701.50. The S&P 500 index advanced 16.98 points, or 0.7%, to finish at 2,358.57 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index added 34.77 points, or 0.6%, to end at 5,875.14.

Apple led the gains on the blue-chip index to close at a record as its market capitalization topped $754 billion.

Even comments from Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer that the central bank could hike rates two more times this year didnt dampen the buoyant sentiment. Tighter monetary policy is often viewed as a sign of economic health.

Tuesdays action follows a week of declines as investors questioned the ability of President Donald Trumps administration and that of congressional Republicans to implement tax cuts and other fiscal-policy measures after the failure to bring controversial health-care legislation to a vote on the House floor.

So far this week, the ICE U.S. Dollar Index has lost 0.6%. It traded nearly flat on Tuesday. U.S. equities traded on a mixed note for the session, with the Dow Industrials trying to snap an eight day losing streak.

Among economic reports expected for the day, the consumer confidence reading for March rose to 125.6 from the prior months revised reading of 116.1 (from 114.8). The consensus expected the survey to hit 113.3. The key takeaway from this report is that consumers were emboldened by a positive view of current business and labor market conditions. There was an improvement in the short-term outlook for business, jobs, and personal income prospects, and more upside is expected on these fronts.

The Advance report for International Trade in Goods for February showed a deficit of $64.8 billion (consensus -$66.1 billion), up from a revised deficit of $68.8 billion for January (from $69.2 billion). The Advance report for February Wholesale Inventories increased 0.4% (consensus 0.2%). The prior months reading was revised to -0.2% from -0.1%. Separatrely, the January Case-Shiller 20-city Index hit 5.7% to follow last months revised 5.5% increase (from 5.6%). The consensus expected a reading of 5.6%.

Bullion metals ended little higher at Comex on Tuesday, 29 March 2017. Gold futures traded flat on Tuesday as investors weighed the outlook for the Trump administrations fiscal-policy agenda following last weeks failed effort at overhauling the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

Gold for April delivery on Comex rose $1.50, or 0.1%, to $1,257 an ounce, while May silver was up 9.7 cents, or 0.5%, at $18.205 an ounce.

Oil prices settled at a roughly one-week high on Tuesday, 28 March 2017 buoyed by disruptions to Libyan crude production and talk of a six-month extension to an OPEC-led pact to limit global output.

May West Texas Intermediate crude oil n++the U.S. benchmark rose 64 cents, or 1.3%, to settle at $48.37 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On the ICE Futures exchange in London, May Brent crude tacked on 58 cents, or 1.1%, to $51.33 a barrel.

Skeptics of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries deal to curb output have argued that the production cuts would be at least partially offset by Libya, which doesnt have an output quota under the deal. An armed group in Libya shut pipelines Monday because of a dispute over wage issues, disrupting production of 250,000 barrels a day. But the news follow reports last week that Libya planned to raise its output to 800,000 barrels a day by April, from current production of 700,000 barrels a day.

On Wednesday, investors will receive the weekly MBA Mortgage Applications Index at 7:00 ET and February Pending Home Sales (consensus 2.4%) at 10:00 ET.

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US stocks end in mixed fashion
Mar 28,2017

U.S. stocks overcame steep losses on Monday, 27 March 2017 but the Dow Industrials and S&P 500 still closed lower as investors reassessed the prospects for President Donald Trumps ambitious economic agenda after a Republican plan to repeal and replace Obamacare was scrapped last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average marked its longest losing streak since August 2011 with eight straight declines, closing down 45.74 points or 0.2%, at 20,550.98, after overcoming an earlier 184-point deficit. The S&P 500 slid 2.39 points, or 0.1%, to close at 2,341.59, as seven out of 11 sectors finished lower. The Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 11.64 points, or 0.2%, at 5,840.37, overcoming an earlier 59-point deficit.

Telecom and financial shares led decliners, while health-care and materials stocks led advancers. The benchmark index has finished down seven out of the past eight sessions. Earlier in the session, the equity gauge had been down by as many as 22 points.

The blue-chip average was led lower by shares of Chevron and Goldman Sachs.

Last weeks health care hiccup fostered some bearish undertones on Monday morning, but investors were largely able to shake off the concerns to start the week unscathed. The Nasdaq settled 0.2% higher while the S&P 500 and the Dow finished with losses of 0.1% and 0.2%, respectively.

With health care reform in the rear-view mirror, lawmakers will now turn their attention to a major catalyst in the stock markets post-election rally--tax reform.

At the top of the days sector standings was the health care space as the demise of the American Health Care Act puts President Trumps pledge to lower drug prices into question. The technology, materials and consumer discretionary groups also settled in positive territory. Large-cap tech names like Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Intel underpinned the top-weighted tech groups outperformance.

On the flip side, the lightly-weighted real estate and telecom services sectors settled at the bottom of the days leaderboard while the remaining groups, financials, industrials, energy, consumer staples, and utilities finished with losses between 0.1% and 0.5%.

In the Treasury market, U.S. sovereign debt settled in positive territory in a curve-flattening trade. The 10-yr yield (2.37%) finished four basis points lower while the 2-yr yield (1.25%) closed only one basis point below its unchanged mark.

On Monday, the ICE U.S. Dollar Index fell 0.5% to 99.151 after trading as low as 98.858, its lowest level in four months. Weakness in the dollar can provide a boost to dollar-denominated commodity prices.

Oil prices finished lower on Monday, 27 March 2017 pressured by another weekly rise in the U.S. oil-rig count and uncertainty over whether OPEC will extend its production cuts into the second half of the year.

May West Texas Intermediate crude fell 24 cents, or 0.5%, to settle at $47.73 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchangen++giving back nearly all of th e nearly 0.6% gain it saw on Friday. May Brent crude on the ICE Futures exchange in London eased by 5 cents, or 0.1%, to $50.75 a barrel.

Gold futures jumped on Monday, 27 March 2017 to finish at their highest level in a month as demand for assets perceived as risky waned, and the dollar dropped in the wake of GOP leaders failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. Gold for April delivery rose $7.20, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,255.70 an ounce. Futures prices havent settled at a level this high since 27 Feb 2017. May silver also gained 36 cents, or 2%, to $18.108 an ounce.

Investors did not receive any economic data on Monday. A handful of reports will be released on Tuesday, including February Advanced International Trade in Goods (consensus -$66.1 billion) and Advanced Wholesale Inventories (consensus 0.2%) at 8:30 ET, January S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index (consensus 5.6%) at 9:00 ET, and March Consumer Confidence (consensus 113.3) at 10:00 ET.

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