tock markets in Europe and North America continue to power ahead on improving trader confidence. News that a deal has been reached to free up needed capital for Greece and start on a multi-year plan toward debt relief, combined with more supportive talk from central banks and improving US oil market conditions have been well received by traders.
Uncertainty surrounding Greece’s debt problems has been weighing on sentiment toward Europe for years. Although there’s still a lot of work to be done, establishing a plan toward debt relief was seen as a positive first step, especially heading into a month of uncertainty between the Brexit referendum and the Spanish election. Speaking of which, despite more overblown threats of impending doom, this time for Standard and Poors, GBP rallied on two poll results one of which had the two sides in a tie with Leave gaining ground and one showing Leave leading outright. This indicates that fears a Brexit could lead to an economic meltdown continue to fade.
Meanwhile in North America, gains have been led by Energy, Materials and Financials. Crude oil prices rallied on a bigger than expected 4.2 mmbbl drop in US DOE inventories confirming yesterday’s 5.0 mmbbl drop in US API inventories. WTI and Brent took another run at $50.00 on the news while energy stocks rose in tandem. Canadian bank earnings week kicked off with a positive response to Bank of Montreal results. Although headline earnings came in a couple of pennies short, strong double digit growth in the core personal and commercial banking business and a dividend increase helped the shares to climb on the news. Tomorrow CIBC, RBC and TD are all scheduled to report. Mining action was mixed. Base metals rose along with the copper price while gold fell with capital going into risk on mode left defensive havens for risk markets.
Central bank comments also helped to boost the outlook for earnings. The Bank of Canada held rates steady as expected. It indicated that the Fort McMurray evacuation and oil sands shutdowns due to wildfires could knock down Q2 GDP growth by 1.2%. The central bank indicated the impact is likely to be short lived with the potential for a rebound in Q3 as production goes back on-line and reconstruction starts. It also indicated economic growth has generally been as expected but uneven.
Meanwhile in the US, comments from St. Louis Fed president about the US economy being past full employment and from Dallas Fed President Harker supporting a rate hike in the near future (but not necessarily June) continue to be seen as indicating a positive outlook for the economy and corporate earnings.
This positive momentum may continue into today’s Asia Pacific trading session. There aren’t any major data announcements today so traders may focus on the G-7 summit, particularly any comments related to currencies and monetary stimulus. Tomorrow, UK GDP could attract attention with traders looking for any signs of whether the Brexit debate is impacting the economy or not (strong retail sales recently suggested no impact). More Fed speakers are scheduled tomorrow, traders may focus on comments from Jerome Powell a permanent voter who doesn't speak in public very often.
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