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Stock markets firm on renewed US rate cut hopes; gas price jumps

By AFP

June 3, 2024 06:03 PM


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Equity markets rose Monday as a dip in US inflation revived hopes the Federal Reserve would cut interest rates this year, while Mumbai was boosted by expectations that India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi would secure a third term.

Pre-weekend news that the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) index -- the Fed's preferred measure of inflation -- slowed to the lowest level since December provided a boost to sentiment after a recent pull-back.

The European Central Bank is widely expected on Thursday to cut eurozone borrowing costs from record-highs.

"Chance of a Federal Reserve rate cut -- or two (this year) -- could help improve the investor sentiment this week," Swissquote analyst Ipek Ozkardeskaya said.

Attention now turns to Friday's release of US jobs data, as Fed officials have said a softer labour market was crucial for them to feel confident enough to loosen monetary policy.

Asian investors started the week in a buoyant mood, pushing Hong Kong solidly higher thanks to a surge in Chinese tech firms, while Tokyo, Sydney and Seoul also posted gains though Shanghai edged lower.

Mumbai piled on more than three percent and the rupee advanced as exit polls suggested Modi was on course to win a third successive term, with a landslide that commentators said would give him the ability to push through new economy-boosting measures.

Oil prices steadied after OPEC and other major producers said they would maintain output levels but start unwinding cuts later in the year, even as questions about China's economic recovery and a spike in US stockpiles cause investors to fret over demand.

European natural gas prices jumped more than ten percent meanwhile after the closure of a pipeline linking key producer Norway with Britain.

The Langeled pipeline was shut after "operational problems" occurred at the Sleipner Riser offshore platform that will require repair work, said Randi Viksund, spokeswoman for the Norwegian transport operator Gassco.

Europe's benchmark contract for natural gas climbed to 38.70 euros per megawatt hour. However, it remains far below 2022 levels struck after Russia's Ukraine invasion.

 Key figures around 1100 GMT  

London - FTSE 100: UP 0.1 percent at 8,284.71 points

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 8,023.86

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 0.8 percent at 18,638.13

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.7 percent at 5,016.85

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 1.1 percent at 38,923.03 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: UP 1.8 percent at 18,403.04 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,078.49 (close)

New York - Dow: UP 1.5 percent at 38,686.32 (close)

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 156.76 from 157.30 yen on Friday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0839 from $1.0852

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2712 from $1.2745

Euro/pound: UP at 85.26 from 85.12 pence

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.2 percent at $76.83 per barrel

Brent North Sea Crude: UP 0.1 percent at $81.18 per barrel


AFP


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