Investing.com Weekly Wrap-Up 18 April 2014

April 19th, 2014
in contributors, syndication

Asian shares mixed in thin holiday trade

by Investing.com Staff, Investing.com

investing.com-logo Asian shares were mixed on Friday in thin holiday trade with many regional markets shut.

The Good Friday session saw markets in Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong and South Korea open. Many trading centers globally however will be shut on the day. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.60% in the morning, while the Shanghai Composite ended down 0.12%.

Follow up:

U.S. stocks finished Thursday mixed to higher, buoyed by solid data and first-quarter earnings, while rising hopes for a way out of the Ukraine crisis boosted share prices as well.

General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) released earnings that topped Wall Street expectations and lifted stocks up, though disappointing results from Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL), International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM) and elsewhere tempered the rally, which allowed the Dow Jones Industrial Average to end in slightly negative territory.

Meanwhile, hopes for an end to the Russian standoff over Ukraine allowed stocks to post modest gains.

The U.S., Russia, the European Union and Ukraine held crisis talks in Geneva on Thursday, and afterwards, diplomats from all sides agreed on steps to ease tensions that include demobilizing militias, vacating seized government buildings and opening future conversations to address autonomy for Ukraine's regions.

Positive U.S. data supported stocks as well.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported earlier that its manufacturing index rose to 16.6 in April, the highest level since September, from 9.0 in March. Analysts had expected the index to tick up to 10.

Separately, the Labor Department reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 12 rose by 2,000 to 304,000, better than analysts' forecasts for a rise to 315,000.

Leading Dow Jones Industrial Average performers included General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), up 1.74%, Chevron Corporation (NYSE:CVX), up 1.51%, and Boeing Company (NYSE:BA), up 1.50%.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average's worst performers included International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), down 3.21%,UnitedHealth Group Incorporated (NYSE:UNH), down 3.08%, and American Express Company (NYSE:AXP), down 1.36%.

European indices, meanwhile, finished higher.

After the close of European trade, the DJ Euro Stoxx 50 rose 0.52%, France's CAC 40 rose 0.59%, while Germany's DAX rose 0.99%. Meanwhile, in the U.K. the FTSE 100 rose 0.62%.

Forex

The Euro was lower against the U.S. Dollar on Friday.

EUR/USD was trading at 1.3810, down 0.03% at time of writing.

The pair was likely to find support at 1.3791, Tuesday's low, and resistance at 1.3864, Thursday's high.

Meanwhile, the Euro was up against the British Pound and down against the Japanese Yen, with EUR/GBP gaining 0.001% to hit 0.8226 and EUR/JPY falling 0.05% to hit 141.41.

USD/JPY was trading at 102.42, up 0.001% at time of writing.

The pair was likely to find support at 101.42, Monday's low, and resistance at 102.57, today's high.

USD/CAD was trading at 1.1023, up 0.12% at time of writing.

The pair was likely to find support at 1.0942, Monday's low, and resistance at 1.1034, Wednesday's high.

GBP/USD was trading at 1.6785, down 0.05% at time of writing.

The pair was likely to find support at 1.6662, Tuesday's low, and resistance at 1.6842, Thursday's high.

Gold

Gold prices edged barely higher in Asia on Friday in thin holiday trade.

The Good Friday session sees markets in Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong and South Korea open. Many trading centers globally however were shut for the day.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday, gold futures for June delivery traded at $1,294.90 a troy ounce, up 0.01%, after hitting an overnight session low of $1,293.20 and off a high of $1,304.30.

Silver for May delivery was up 0.19% at US$19.645 a troy ounce, while copper futures for May delivery were down 0.01% at US$3.049 a pound.

Oil

Crude oil prices edged slightly higher in Asia on Friday in thin trade.

The Good Friday session sees markets in Japan, mainland China, Hong Kong and South Korea open. Many trading centers globally however will be shut on the day.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange Thursday, West Texas Intermediate crude oil for delivery in May traded at $104.58 a barrel, up 0.07%, after hitting an overnight session low of $103.56 a barrel and a high of $104.77 a barrel.

Brent crude on the ICE futures exchange lost 7 cents, or 0.1%, to settle at $109.53 a barrel on Thursday. Prices are up 2% for the week.

Overnight, oil prices rose after the Russian standoff over Ukraine heated up, which spooked markets with fears escalation could disrupt Russian oil shipments.
Crude gains as Ukraine crisis heats upUkraine unease gives oil a boost.

Three pro-Russian separatists were killed in clashes with Ukrainian forces on Wednesday, which kept oil prices elevated.

The U.S., Russia, the European Union and Ukraine held crisis talks in Geneva on Thursday, though concerns the meetings will end in impasse supported crude oil, as the West may impose new sanctions against Russia and bring about supply disruptions. Russia is the world's second largest oil exporter after Saudi Arabia.

Positive U.S. data boosted prices as well by painting a picture of a more robust U.S. economy, one that will demand more fuel and energy going forward.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia reported earlier that its manufacturing index rose to 16.6 in April, the highest level since September, from 9.0 in March. Analysts had expected the index to tick up to 10.

Separately, the Labor Department reported that the number of individuals filing for initial jobless benefits in the week ending April 12 rose by 2,000 to 304,000, better than analysts' forecasts for a rise to 315,000.

Capping gains, however, was Wednesday's bearish weekly supply report.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that U.S. crude oil inventories rose by 10.01 million barrels in the week ended April 11, far surpassing expectations for a build of 2.25 million barrels, which sent prices falling on concerns the economy is awash in crude.

Total U.S. crude oil inventories stood at 394.1 million barrels as of last week.

The EIA said total motor gasoline inventories decreased by 0.2 million barrels compared to forecasts for a decline of 1.66 million barrels, while distillate stockpiles decreased by 1.27 million barrels.

A report from the American Petroleum Institute late Tuesday showed U.S. oil inventories rose by 7.6 million barrels last week, while gasoline stocks fell by 500,000 barrels and distillate stocks dropped by 1.1 million barrels.

Natural Gas

Natural gas prices soared on Thursday, hitting 7-week highs after a weekly U.S. stockpile report revealed inventories grew at a slower clip than markets were expecting.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in May traded at $4.739 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 4.60%. The commodity hit session high of $4.739 and a low of $4.488.

The May contract settled down 0.81% on Wednesday to end at $4.530 per million British thermal units.

Natural gas futures were likely to find support at $4.488 per million British thermal units, the earlier low, and resistance at $5.207, the high from Feb. 24.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ending April 11 rose by 24 billion cubic feet after an increase of 4 billion cubic feet the previous week.

Analysts had expected an increase of 34 billion cubic feet last week, the lower-than-expected build sparked a rally in the market.

Severely cold weather over this past winter saw natural gas stockpiles fall to 11-year lows, sparking concerns that producers may not be able to refill inventories before the next heating season.

Producers typically replenish inventories between April and October, when demand is lower.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption. Approximately 52% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

Spring and fall see the weakest demand for natural gas in the U.S, as the absence of extreme temperatures curbs demand for heating and air conditioning.

 









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