Business International

Oil, Stocks Climb; Draghi Remarks Raise Stimulus Hopes

Image: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange January 20, 2016. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid


By Caroline Valetkevitch

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Oil prices and global equity markets rebounded on Thursday, following a turbulent few days that wiped trillions of dollars off asset values, though it was unclear whether the vigorous selling action had come to an end.

Remarks by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi earlier in the day raised hopes for further monetary stimulus and helped buoy the markets.

U.S. stocks were up in afternoon trading, led by gains in telecommunications, energy and consumer discretionary shares. European markets ended higher, while major Asian bourses finished lower.

The MSCI All Country World Index gained 0.68 percent to 359.74, a day after a drop pushed it beyond a 20-percent decline threshold that indicated it was in a bear market.

That index has shed 11 percent over the past 15 trading days, and volatility has spiked amid investor concern over weak growth and overvalued equity markets. Market participants had been looking for a notable selloff to suggest a massive dumping of positions had taken place, and Wednesday’s dramatic action in the markets looked like it to some.

Europe’s pan-regional FTSEurofirst 300 index  jumped 2.1 percent.

The euro fell to a two-week low against the dollar after the ECB’s Draghi hinted of additional stimulus measures as early as March as economic risks had grown.

He cited concerns over China and emerging markets, volatility in financial and commodity markets and geopolitical risks, and said the tumult would prompt a March review of monetary policy. The euro fell below $1.08 for the first time in two weeks during his speech.

Oil rebounded after falling to a more-than-12-year low the previous day. U.S. crude futures were up 4.3 percent to $29.55 per barrel. On Wednesday, U.S. crude futures fell to their lowest since September 2003.

Crude oil prices, which have dropped more than 25 percent since the start of the year, have been a key driver of a recent cross-asset rout.

“The underlying focus is still on oil because people are looking at the transmission mechanism to the real economy of lower oil prices,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, interest rate strategist, at TD Securities in New York.

“Lower oil prices are maybe great for the consumer, but not unilaterally good for the U.S economy.”
U.S. Treasury debt yields edged lower in choppy trading, weighed by concerns over volatility in oil and global stock markets.

As of 2:15 p.m. EST, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 83.24 points, or 0.53 percent, to 15,849.98, the S&P 500  had gained 5.08 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,864.41 and the Nasdaq Composite  had dropped 5.30 points, or 0.12 percent, to 4,466.39.

A 3 percent slump in Chinese stocks gave Asia another bruising.

MSCI’s 23-country emerging market index notched a 6-1/2 year low and Russia’s rouble  tanked almost 5 percent at one point as it’set a record low against the dollar for a second day running.

(Additional reporting by Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss in New York, Marc Jones in London and Lisa Twaronite in Tokyo; Editing by Bernadette Baum)

Copyright 2015 Thomson Reuters. Click for Restrictions.

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