US New Home Sales, Adobe and Broadcom Earnings
The US dollar further declined against other major currencies, with the US Dollar Index (USDX) falling even below its level from last Thursday, when the greenback peaked. The pound sterling (GBP) extended its gains, after UK lawmakers voiced opposition to a “no deal” Brexit and are now expected to seek an extension for the March 29 deadline from the EU.
Oil prices moved again higher as the US are seeking to further diminish Iran’s role in the global oil markets and the EIA reported crude oil inventories lower by 3.9 million barrels compared to the previous week.
Precious metals were overall trading lower on Thursday morning, with gold moving again closer to the $1,300 mark after reaching a nine-day high on Wednesday. Palladium prices meanwhile again crossed above the $1,500 threshold.
Stock indices opened mostly higher on Thursday morning with relatively few exceptions. The Volatility Index VIX reached meanwhile a new four months low. The VIX is also referred to as a fear gauge, indicating uncertainty and volatility in the markets. Chinese indices traded relatively unchanged despite the unemployment rate moving up to 5.3% (previous 4.9%) and industrial production sinking to +5.3% y/y (previous +5.7%) in February.
On Thursday the Swiss producer and import price index will be published, followed by the consumer price index (CPI) from France. The US will release data on import and export prices, new home sales and new jobless claims. Later in the Asian-Pacific trading session the Bank of Japan (BoJ) is due to deliver its interest rate decision.
The euro continues to move higher against the dollar, gaining on a steady pace since Friday and recovering most of last week’s losses, where it reached near a 21-month low.
Weakness in the dollar and signs of an economic slowdown in the US are supportive for the euro while the trade war between the United States and China, and developments over Britain's exit from the European Union will most likely be the primary factors setting the direction for the pair in the near future.
Producer prices barely rose in February, resulting in the smallest annual increase in more than 1-1/2 years orders for durable goods rose unexpectedly in January, thanks largely to a 15.9% jump in orders for aircraft, according to data released on Wednesday.
For Thursday, import prices, unemployment claims and new home sales will be in focus from the US, while later in the day the Parliamentary vote on extending the Brexit will most likely cause some instability in prices.
Again the pound sterling was subject to significant volatility, briefly reaching the highest level since July 2018 against the dollar as the UK Parliament rejected a “no-deal” Brexit after it earlier also rejected the deal brought forward by the Prime Minister Theresa May for the second time. Now Parliament is set to vote on an extension for the divorce date from the EU. While most EU heads of state are not against such an extension, conditions like minimum stay or the participation of the UK in the upcoming elections for the European Parliament are being discussed.
In terms of fundamental data, the RICS House Price Balance fell to -28% in February and thus extending the continuous series of declines since August last year. This index indicates if surveyed house prices are seen increasing or decreasing in certain areas.
Oil prices continue to trade higher on Thursday in Asia, after a sharp 2% gain posted on Wednesday, as the U.S. reportedly plans to cut more exports of crude from Iran starting in May. Reuters reported that Washington is targeting to cut Iran's crude exports by about 20% to below 1 million barrels per day (bpd) from May.
Further support came after indications for further sanctions on Venezuelan oil and by the US Energy Information Administration announcing a drop in crude oil inventories.
According to EIA (Energy Information Administration), US inventories declined by 3.86 million barrels last week when predictions were for a build of 2.66 million barrels.
For Thursday, a report on natural gas storage is due later in the day and on Friday, the Baker Hughes report on active US oil rigs will provide further insight on U.S. supply.
After a mixed performance on Tuesday, US indices further extended gains, with the NASDAQ (US Tech 100) and S&P 500 (US 500) reaching the highest level in almost five months. Especially the health care (US Health Care ETF +1.08%) and biotech (US Biotech ETF +1.37%) continued to experience strong growth, while energy stocks (US Energy ETF +1.15%) could have felt support by the oil markets, as WTI oil reached a new four months high.
Fundamental data was stronger than expected with construction spending up by 1.3% m/m (expected +0.3%) and durable goods orders higher by 0.4% despite an expected shortfall.
Aurora Cannabis (+13.57%) stocks surged higher after securing a participation of the billionaire Nelson Peltz, who is known to an activist investor as an advisor. Overall cannabis companies performed only marginally better than the market average as seen in the move of the Global Cannabis ETF (+1.00%).
While most major companies already published their quarterly financial results, this and next week still some companies will publish their numbers. Among others on Thursday Adobe, DocuSign, Pivotal and Broadcom will publish their numbers. Next week results from companies like Micron and Tilray are expected.
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