Saturday, April 28, 2018

Stock & Commodities Related News.

GRAINS-U.S. soybeans rally on soymeal gains; corn, wheat firm - Reuters News

27-Apr-2018 11:27:20 PM

Recasts, updates with U.S. trading, adds new analyst quote, details, changes byline, dateline; pvs LONDON

By Mark Weinraub

- Chicago Board of Trade soybean futures rose on Friday on expectations that the United States will increase its share of the soymeal export market due to harvest shortfalls in Argentina, traders said.

Corn futures firmed, hitting a nine-month high for the third day in a row as traders scrambled to cover short positions ahead of the weekend.

Winter wheat also was supported by short-covering as traders squared positions ahead of a tour through Kansas next week that will allow crop scouts to get a first-hand look at damage caused by a drought.

At 9:58 a.m. CDT (1458 GMT), CBOT July soybean futures were up 8-1/2 cents at $10.48 a bushel. Soymeal futures were 1.9 percent higher and hit their highest since April 9.

"Soybean prices continue to steer clear of modestly lower price levels where a dangerous minefield of momentum triggers await," said Tobin Gorey, director of agricultural strategy at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

On the cash market, bids for soymeal shipped by barge to exporters at the U.S. Gulf firmed early on Friday. Premiums for soymeal loaded on ocean-going vessels also were strong.

"It is the meal leading the rally," said Dan Cekander, president of DC Analysis. "There is just a feeling that the drought in Argentina will cut back on their meal processing. That tightness has not been resolved."

CBOT July soft red winter wheat futures were 5-1/4 cents higher at $4.94-3/4 a bushel while K.C. hard red winter wheat for July delivery gained 3-1/2 cents to $5.24-1/2 a bushel.

But spring wheat was weaker after a Statistics Canada report showed that Canadian farmers planned to seed a bigger-than-expected 25.259 million acres of wheat.

MGEX July spring wheat was off 5-1/4 cents at $5.98-3/4 a bushel.

Gains in the corn market were kept in check by forecasts for warmer weather in the U.S. Midwest that should allow farmers to make headway in their much delayed planting tasks in the coming days.

CBOT July corn was 1-3/4 cents higher at $3.97 a bushel. Prices peaked at $3.98-3/4, the highest for the most-active contract since July 21.

"Temperatures will gradually rise across the core U.S. crop regions through the end of the month under high pressure dominance," Ed Whalen of Thomson Reuters Weather Research said in a report issued on Thursday.

He said rainfall would be "rather limited" in that region.

(Additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Nigel Hunt in London, Editing by Andrea Ricci)




UPDATE 6-Oil prices slip but supported by Iran concerns - Reuters News

27-Apr-2018 11:54:35 PM

  • Brent on course for third straight weekly rise
  • WTI set for weekly drop of 0.7 pct, but up this month
  • Strong dollar, U.S. supplies hold back prices
  • Coming up: Baker Hughes rig count data at 1 p.m. EDT

Updates market activity, prices, adds commentary; changes byline, dateline, previous LONDON

By Stephanie Kelly

- Oil prices slipped on Friday, with Brent on track for its third week of gains amid supply concerns should the United States reimpose sanctions on Iran.

Brent crude futures fell 20 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $74.54 a barrel by 11:48 a.m. EDT (1548 GMT). This month, the global benchmark hit highs above $75, a level last seen in late 2014.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures fell 30 cents to $67.89 a barrel, a 0.4 percent loss.

Brent was on track for a weekly gain of about 0.7 percent, while WTI was set for a weekly loss of about 0.7 percent.

U.S. President Donald Trump will decide by May 12 whether to reimpose sanctions on Iran that were lifted as part of an agreement with six other world powers over Tehran's nuclear program. The renewed sanctions would likely dampen Iranian oil exports, disrupting global oil supply.

"That's an issue that is more political in nature that could have a shock in the market," said Mark Watkins, a regional investment manager at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in Park City, Utah." "It's one of those wildcards that's out there because if the sanctions do happen, there's going to be oil that comes off the market."

Brent has risen by around 5 percent this month. The gains came despite a higher dollar, which is at its strongest since Jan. 11 against a basket of currencies.

A stronger dollar makes greenback-denominated commodities more expensive for holders of other currencies.

Concerns about market tightness have also been fueled by the deteriorating political and economic situation in Venezuela that has led to a 40 percent decline in crude output in the past two years.

Price increases have been capped by rising U.S. production as shale drillers ramp up activity, underpinning a widening discount between Brent and WTI. U.S. crude's discount to Brent hit its widest since Dec. 28 at $6.74 a barrel.

Surging U.S. production, which rose to 10.59 million barrels per day last week, has encouraged record-high U.S. exports.

Market analysts were awaiting U.S. rig count data from General Electric Co's Baker Hughes energy services firm, due to be released later on Friday.

Weak refining margins hurt two of the world's largest integrated energy companies for the second consecutive quarter, although Chevron Corp's oil production gains in the first quarter outshone its larger rival Exxon Mobil Corp

(Additional reporting by Shadia Nasralla in London and Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo; Editing by Jason Neely and Mark Potter)




US STOCKS-Amazon, Microsoft boost Nasdaq; Exxon drags on S&P - Reuters News

27-Apr-2018 10:29:32 PM

  • Amazon opens at record high after Q1 profit doubles
  • Microsoft, Intel also gain after results
  • U.S. Q1 GDP rises 2.3 pct vs est 2 pct
  • Dow off 0.05 pct, S&P up 0.15 pct, Nasdaq up 0.41 pct

Updates to open

By Sruthi Shankar

- Amazon and Microsoft pushed the Nasdaq higher on Friday, but weak reports from Exxon and other energy companies capped gains on the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial index. Inc surged 7.9 percent to a record high of $1,638.10 after the world's largest online retailer more than doubled its profit and forecast strong spring results.

Microsoft Corp rose 1.5 percent after topping Wall Street forecasts for profit, while Intel gained 2.2 percent as strength in its data center business drove a profit beat.

Exxon dropped 3.5 percent after posting a lower-than-expected quarterly profit.

The results come a day after Facebook's impressive earnings beat led a rebound in technology stocks on Thursday and helped the main indexes close above 1 percent.

"The market is a little hesitant after a very strong day in response to some earnings that were taken quite positively," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at New Vines Capital LLC in Bernardsville, New Jersey.

At 9:56 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 12.32 points, or 0.05 percent, at 24,310.02, the S&P 500 was up 4.02 points, or 0.15 percent, at 2,670.96 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 29.15 points, or 0.41 percent, at 7,147.82.

More than half the S&P 500 firms have reported first-quarter earnings so far, and 79.4 percent have topped profit expectations, according to Thomson Reuters data. The latest estimate for earnings growth was 24.6 percent, up from about 18 percent at the start of season.

U.S. 10-year Treasury yields, the benchmark of global interest rates, retreated further from the 3 percent level, taking some pressure off equities.

Data showed that the U.S. economy's growth slowed in the first quarter to an annual rate of 2.3 percent as consumer spending grew at its weakest pace in nearly five years.

The Jan-March quarter numbers tend to be soft because of a seasonal quirk and Federal Reserve officials are likely to shrug off the weak data.

Sprint surged more than 9 percent after Reuters reported, citing sources, the company and fellow wireless carrier T-Mobile have made progress in negotiating merger terms and are aiming to successfully complete deal talks as early as next week.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners for a 1.44-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and for a 1.44-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 11 new 52-week highs and six new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 34 new highs and 30 new lows.

(Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta)


PRECIOUS-Gold gains but remains vulnerable after Korean leaders meet - Reuters News

27-Apr-2018 09:06:07 PM

  • Gold on track for second weekly fall
  • Silver set for biggest weekly fall in nearly three months
  • Platinum hits four-month low

(Updates prices, adds comment on platinum/palladium spread)

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) - Gold edged higher on Friday but is likely to revisit five-week lows after the prospect of a Korean denuclearisation deal eroded bullion's safe-haven appeal.

The leaders of South and North Korea embraced after pledging on Friday to work for the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

Spot gold was up 0.1 percent at $1,318.52 an ounce by 1245 GMT, not far from a low of $1,315.06 hit in the previous session, its weakest since March 21.

The metal was on track to finish the week down more than 1 percent for its second consecutive weekly decline and the biggest weekly drop in four.

U.S. gold futures added 0.1 percent to $1,319.40.

"We have the pictures from the meeting of the two Korean leaders today, showing geopolitical hotspots have calmed down massively, so there's scant argument to be bullish on gold at the moment," said Carsten Fritsch, commodity analyst at Commerzbank in Frankfurt.

Adding to the pressure on gold, the dollar was firmer, bond yields higher and spot gold slipped below its 100-day moving average, he said.

Activtrades chief analyst Carlo Alberto De Casa said: "That's a very negative sign for technical oriented investors ... I expect gold to briefly dip below $1,300, but physical buying will kick in to support the price.

"The strength of the U.S. dollar - combined with the weakness of the eurozone currency after (ECB chief) Mario Draghi's speech - is pushing down the yellow metal."

The dollar hit a 3-1/2-month high against a basket of currencies on higher U.S. yields while the euro was hampered by a dovish tone from the European Central Bank.

On Wednesday the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield reached its highest since January 2014 at 3.035 percent.

A rise in U.S. bond yields pressures gold by reducing the attractiveness of non-yielding bullion, which is priced in dollars.

Silver rose 0.3 percent to $16.53 an ounce. It is down more than 3 percent this week, the biggest weekly drop since since the week ending Feb. 2.

Platinum dipped by 0.1 percent to $905.49 an ounce after touching $900.50, its weakest since Dec. 18.

Palladium eased by 0.5 percent to $979.60 an ounce. It has rallied nearly 10 percent since U.S. sanctions were imposed on Russian entities on April 6. Russia is the world's biggest producer of palladium.

The spread between platinum and palladium has widened to $75 from about $50 over the past three days.

"I expect the price gap between platinum and palladium to narrow again because palladium's rise was due to these unjustifed sanctions fears and the price weakness in platinum was exaggerated in the last few days," Fritsch said.


(Additional reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru Editing by Jane Merriman and David Goodman)




FOREX-Dollar on track for best week since 2016 despite slowing growth - Reuters News

27-Apr-2018 11:12:22 PM

  • Dollar has its best week since Nov. 2016
  • U.S. GDP rose 2.3 percent in Q1
  • Sterling at lowest since March 1 on weak GDP data

Updates news, rates and analyst comments

By Kate Duguid

- The dollar held steady on Friday despite a government report showing slower first-quarter economic growth, with the currency on track to end its strongest week since November 2016, having gained 1.6 percent.

On Tuesday, the U.S. benchmark government bond yield broke through the psychologically significant 3 percent level for the first time in more than four years as investors reduced their U.S. bond holdings on worries about rising inflation and growing government debt supply.

While Friday extended the week's gains, the dollar's move was muted by comparison, up just 0.1 percent at 91.625 against a basket of six currencies, its highest since Jan. 12.

"The market's taking a bit of a breather after some significant moves over the better part of last week," said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange Inc, in Washington D.C.

The U.S. economy slowed in the first quarter as consumer spending grew at its weakest pace in nearly five years, the Commerce Department reported. But the setback is likely temporary against the backdrop of a tightening labor market and large fiscal stimulus.

While the dollar has ignored yield differentials for more than a year, with investors preferring to give greater weight to the momentum of economic recovery in other major economies, notably Europe, this week's spike in 10-year U.S. Treasury yields forced investors to acknowledge the widening yield differentials favoring the greenback.

"We're coming to a point now finally where the market is focusing more on the dollar's widening yield advantage over its major rivals, which has been in place for some time but has been largely ignored by investors," said Esiner.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields peaked at 3.03 percent on Wednesday. Short-dated U.S. yields hit a more-than- decade high of 2.51 percent on Wednesday.

Sterling was the biggest loser among major currencies on Friday as weaker-than-expected first-quarter growth numbers further whittled away at the likelihood of a rate hike next month.

The pound fell as low as $1.375 against the dollar, more than 1 percent weaker, after data showed Britain's economy grew at its slowest pace since the fourth quarter of 2012. Against the euro, the pound dropped as much as 1 percent to 87.85 pence.

The Japanese yen was little changed after the central bank's policy decision to keep its settings unchanged.

The dollar rose to a top of 109.53 yen Friday, the highest level since Feb. 8.

The euro, in which speculators held record long positions, fell to $1.205 on Friday, its lowest since Jan. 12.

(Reporting by Kate Duguid; Editing by Dan Grebler)