Global stocks and oil rebound after pre-holiday thumping
By Trevor Hunnicutt (Reuters) - Stocks and oil prices rebounded on Wednesday as the Trump administration attempted to shore up confidence and markets welcomed a report on strong U.S. holiday spending
By Trevor Hunnicutt
(Reuters) - Stocks and oil prices rebounded on Wednesday as the Trump administration attempted to shore up confidence and markets welcomed a report on strong U.S. holiday spending.
MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.22 percent, while Brent crude futures were last at $52.42, up 3.86 percent.
Benchmarks for both oil and stocks hit their lowest in more than a year on Monday, with the S&P 500 on the cusp of being in a bear market despite what is usually a calm week of trading shortened by the Christmas holiday. Markets in Britain, Germany and France were closed on Wednesday.
Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on Wednesday that U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's job was not in jeopardy. Just two days President Donald Trump described the Fed as the "only problem our economy has" as the central bank raises interest rates.
Investors have been unnerved by the potential for weaker economic growth exacerbated by a partial U.S. federal government shutdown. Trump has largely laid the blame for economic headwinds on the Fed, openly criticizing its chairman, whom he appointed.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has also raised market concerns by convening a crisis group amid the sharp pullback in stocks.
One economist said the Fed holds the key to calming markets.
"In the end, we believe that the Fed is the only presence capable of ending the current confusion in the markets," Kenta Inoue, senior market economist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities, said in a note. "The White House will probably keep making gestures intended to halt the rout in stocks, but the federal government is likely to remain shut into the new year. The U.S.-China trade war also shows no signs of a resolution."
Investors welcomed news that sales during the U.S. holiday shopping season rose 5.1 percent to over $850 billion in 2018, the strongest in the six years, according to a Mastercard Inc report, as shoppers were encouraged by a robust economy and early discounts.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 234.5 points, or 1.08 percent, to 22,026.7, the S&P 500 gained 29.11 points, or 1.24 percent, to 2,380.21 and the Nasdaq Composite added 112.71 points, or 1.82 percent, to 6,305.63.
The risk-off move in recent weeks has been a boon for U.S. government bonds. On Wednesday short-term bonds that benefit from more easygoing Fed policy rose in price, while longer bonds sensitive to inflation and risk sentiment declined. Benchmark 2-year Treasuries last rose 2/32 in price to yield 2.5565 percent, while the 30-year bond last declined 5/32 in price to yield 3.0101 percent.
"Breathe on these markets and corrective rebounds could ensue," said Citigroup Inc analysts Bill O'Donnell and Ed Acton in a note as investors react to a Fed tightening policy and rising rates. "We think we'll recognise the signs when sustainable trend reversals have been established and at the moment we see none of those signs."
Meanwhile, a risk-off move that benefited the Japanese yen versus the U.S. dollar for eight straight trading sessions lost a bit of steam. The yen weakened 0.05 percent versus the greenback at 110.35 per dollar.
Gold continued to attract buyers in the uncertain market, with spot prices adding 0.8 percent to $1,278.50 an ounce and at six-month highs.
(Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.