Markets up, euro down ahead of ECB meeting

December 6, 2016 03:35 PM

Crude oil futures snapped a four-day rally on Tuesday on signs of higher output while the euro slipped from a three-week high ahead of a Thursday meeting of the European Central Bank.  The markets were boosted by financial and telecom stocks while U.S. Treasury yields held in narrow ranges ahead of the ECB meeting. Italian banks rebounded. 

The euro fell 0.4% to $1.072 after rising sharply in the previous session as currency investors focused on the possibility the ECB may take a hawkish turn, even as it is widely expected to extend bond purchases. 

The S&P 500 index closed higher helped by continued strength in financials and telecommunications stocks. The S&P energy sector ended down slightly.

Oil prices fell sharply after data showed crude output rose in virtually every major export region and on news that Saudi Aramco had cut prices to big Asian customers.

The data followed last week's first OPEC output cut agreement since 2008 and sent Brent oil futures down 2.3%, to $53.66 a barrel after settling at $53.93. It had risen rising 18.5% in the previous four sessions. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures fell $1.03, or 2%, to $50.69 after settling at $50.93. WTI had risen 14.5 percent in the last 4 days. 

"OPEC's probably taken the price up as much as it can. Now markets will look back to fundamentals - supply and weekly inventory reports," said John Augustine, chief investment officer at Huntington National Bank in Columbus, Ohio.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 35.54 points, or 0.18%, to 19,251.78, the S&P 500 gained 7.52 points, or 0.34%, to 2,212.23 and the Nasdaq Composite added 24.11 points, or 0.45%, to 5,333.00.

The FTSEurofirst 300 index had risen 1% after data showed German industrial orders rose at their fastest pace in more than two years, stoking hopes that Europe's largest economy is set to accelerate.

In Europe, Italy's weekend referendum result was still in focus, with sources telling Reuters state aid had been prepared for the world's oldest bank, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

Italy's FTSE MIB jumped 4.2%, more than erasing the previous day's losses, helped by a 9% rebound in Italian banking stocks as investors covered short positions ahead of the ECB meeting and some bet on a restructuring of the sector.

Longer-dated yields edged up partly after the report on Monte dei Paschi di Siena.

"That helped reverse some of the risk-off sentiment at the longer end of the yield curve," said Ian Lyngen, head of U.S. rates strategy at BMO Capital Markets in New York.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield was 2.394%, up 0.7 basis point from Monday, while the 30-year bond yield was 3.080%, up 2.5 basis points..

The U.S. dollar rose 0.4% after dipping to a near three-week low against a basket of major currencies the previous day.

Gold was down 0.04% after hitting a 10-month intraday low on Monday. 

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