Stocks jump on China trade surprise, buoyant banks
LONDON – Global stocks rose on Wednesday after surprisingly upbeat Chinese trade data offered hope Asia’s biggest economy is finally stabilising, boosting risk appetite.
A strong rise in European bank shares, led by renewed optimism surrounding Italy‘s fund to shore up weak lenders, and a positive reaction to JP Morgan’s first quarter earnings also lifted broader indices.
Europe’s FTSEuroFirst index of leading 300 shares posted its biggest gain in a month, rising 2.1 percent to a two-week high of 1,334 points .FTEU3, and Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC also rose more than 2 percent .GDAXI .FCHI.
U.S. futures pointed to a rise of 0.6 percent at the open on Wall Street. ESc1
“China‘s trade data beat expectations, which lent further support to risk sentiment today as reflected in the bounce in equity markets,” Morgan Stanley strategists said.
China reported exports jumped 11.5 percent year on year in March — the first increase since June, well above market forecasts, and a huge improvement on February. [ECONCN]
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS added 1.7 percent, marking its sixth straight gain and longest winning streak in six months.
Financials led the rally in Europe, with the region’s main banking index up more than 5 percent .SX7P as investors welcomed assurances from Italy’s economy minister that European authorities won’t block the country’s bank fund.
Investors also gave a thumbs up to JP Morgan’s first quarter earnings. Net profit fell to $5.5 billion, but earnings per share and revenue beat expectations, and its shares were up nearly 3 percent in pre-market trading. (JPM.N)
OIL AT CRITICAL JUNCTURE
Oil prices, however, ran into profit-taking after having rallied almost 20 percent in the last week.
Brent crude LCOc1 was down 1.5 percent at $44.02 a barrel, after breaching the 200-day moving average around $43.50 on Tuesday — the first time it has scaled this key technical level in almost two years.
U.S. crude CLc1 lost nearly 2 percent to $41.40, easing back from a four-month high, but also held above the 200-day moving average around $40.95 as attention turns to this weekend’s meeting of top oil producers in Doha.
Saudi oil minister Ali al-Naimi ruled out an output cut, in comments to Saudi-owned al-Hayat newspaper published on Wednesday.
A rally in energy stocks helped Wall Street end Tuesday firmer across the board .DJI .SPX.IXIC. The S&P 500 energy sector .SPNY jumped 2.8 percent and the Dow industrials posted its best day in about a month.
The lift in energy overnight boosted oil- and commodity-sensitive currencies including the Canadian and Australian dollars to multi-month peaks, but that rally fizzled out as oil headed lower again.
Both currencies were down around 0.4 percent against the U.S. dollar CAD= AUD=, which was in turn up two thirds of a percent at 109.20 yen JPY=, having climbed from a near 18-month trough around 107.63 set on Monday.
The euro fell two thirds of a percent against the dollar to $1.1307 EUR=, helping the dollar index .DXY to climb two thirds of a percent to 94.584 and further away from its near eight-month low of 93.627 struck recently.
“Markets are trading ‘risk on’, buoyed by better than expected China trade data. In sympathy the dollar is bouncing back versus the euro and yen, and in the near-term we think this correction can extend further,” BNP Paribas currency strategists said.
Short-term fair value for the euro is around $1.1243, they said.
U.S. Treasury bond yields rose as much as 2 basis points across the curve, notably at the short end, while the dollar’s strength helped drive gold down more than 1 percent to $1,241 an ounce XAU=. –Reuters