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Oil slumps, shares rally

Oil slumps, shares rally

Shares in Europe and the US rallied overnight as Brent crude oil hit an eighteen year low. Healthcare stocks led markets higher as news of a five minute test for the Covid-19 virus lifted sentiment. Crude oil markets continue to suffer from the one-two punch of declining demand and potentially surging supply as major producers squabble.

Professional investors are bracing for the monthly and quarterly reports to clients due after today’s close. This is the worst quarter for share performance globally since the fourth quarter of 2008, and for money managers the conversations with customers will be very uncomfortable. Those with short exposures will have better news, and could be active today as they lock in profits. This could add to the recent positive moves for growth-exposed assets.

Crude oil markets remain depressed as refiner shutdowns add to the current oversupply. A conversation between the Russian and US presidents had little impact despite reports of Mr Trump calling for oil price stability. The breakdown of agreements between OPEC and other nations keeps pressure on crude prices as virus containment measures depress demand.

The US dollar broke its recent run of falls to steady, matching the tone of the broader forex market. The British pound stood out as it extended gains against majors to other currencies. CMC’s GBP index is up 1.8% over the last two sessions.

Both gold and bonds drifted as the improved sentiment dampened demand for safe harbours.

Asia Pacific stock futures indicate opening gains across the region. Australia 200 index futures are up just over 1% after yesterday’s strong gains, but the Hang Seng and Nikkei indices could outperform after falling yesterday.

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