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Global stocks mostly rise in relief rally as oil prices ease

The easing of tensions in the Middle East has seen oil prices slip (Frederic J. BROWN)
The easing of tensions in the Middle East has seen oil prices slip (Frederic J. BROWN)

Major stock markets rallied Monday with a record close for London while oil prices dipped as Middle East worries subsided and traders looked ahead to the release of key US inflation data and corporate earnings.

London led the way in Europe, with its FTSE 100 index gaining 1.6 percent to hit a record closing high of 8,023.87 points.

The benchmark index also benefited from a weaker pound since the Bank of England is seen cutting interest rates soon as UK inflation cools.

Frankfurt and Paris closed up 0.7 and 0.2 percent respectively.

Wall Street stocks also powered higher, shrugging off recent weakness at the start of a heavy week of earnings from technology and industrial companies.

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In Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng stocks index closed with a gain of 1.8 percent.

"The week starts with a relief rally in equities following a calm weekend on the geopolitical scene," noted Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank.

With Iran downplaying the recently-reported Israeli attack on the country, which came days after a massive drone and missile strike on Israel by Tehran, tensions between the regional foes appeared to have cooled.

While the situation remains tense, the lack of escalation over the weekend provided traders with an opportunity to pick up equities after losses last week.

Investors will turn their attention this week to earnings updates from more US giants, including Google parent Alphabet, Tesla and Microsoft.

They are also setting their sights on US economic data.

"What this week brings will depend largely on what the earnings and economic calendars bring -- and they will be bringing a lot," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare.

US first-quarter growth figures are due out on Thursday.

The personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index, the Federal Reserve's preferred gauge of inflation, will also be released on Friday.

The reading could play a major role in the central bank's decision-making on US interest rates, and comes after successive months of above-forecast consumer price index figures.

Recent US inflation data has dented hopes for a cut in June, and traders have scaled back their outlook for how many the Fed will make this year.

"If core PCE exceeds expectations, this will mean elevated interest rates are likely for longer in the US," said Fawad Razaqzada, analyst at City Index and FOREX.com.

Elsewhere Monday, bitcoin firmed following the long-anticipated "halving."

Friday saw the halving of reward for operating bitcoin, a much-anticipated step designed to limit production and boost the world's biggest cryptocurrency.

- Key figures around 2040 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.7 percent at 38,239.98 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.9 percent at 5,010.60 (close)

New York - Nasdaq Composite: UP 1.1 percent at 15,451.31 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.6 percent at 8,023.87 points (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 8,040.36 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.7 percent at 17,860.80 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 4,936.85 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.0 percent at 37,438.61 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 1.8 percent at 16,511.69 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.7 percent at 3,044.60 (close)

Dollar/yen: UP at 154.84 from 154.64 yen

Euro/dollar: FLAT at $1.0656

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2354 from $1.2370

Euro/pound: UP at 86.24 pence from 86.14 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.3 percent at $82.85 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: DOWN 0.3 percent at $87.00 per barrel

burs-jmb/des