Biden Is Expected to Tap Oil Reserves to Control Rising Gasoline Prices
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President Biden is preparing to announce the release of up to 1 million barrels of oil a day from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve, according to people familiar with the plans. Mr. Biden is expected to deliver remarks on Thursday on the administration’s efforts to curb the rise in energy prices in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The announcement could come during the planned remarks. Brent crude, the global benchmark for oil prices, fell almost 5% in Asia to $106.12 a barrel after the plan to release more reserves was first reported. Still, the most actively traded Brent prices remain sharply higher than they were 12 months ago, when they settled at $62.74 a barrel. The president earlier this month banned the import of oil and other energy sources from Russia, while acknowledging that could translate to higher gasoline prices for Americans. Ahead of the midterm elections, Mr. Biden has been under pressure to address rising gasoline prices, as Republicans continue to criticize vulnerable Democrats on the issue.
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The Swiss stock market recorded slight losses on Wednesday. The confidence on Tuesday has now been followed by a mild hangover. The SMI lost 0.7 per cent to 12,244 points. Among the 20 SMI stocks, there were 16 price losers and 4 price winners. 36.88 (previously: 47.56) million shares were traded. Gains were taken in bank shares. Credit Suisse lost 2 per cent, UBS held up slightly better with minus 1.5 per cent. Cyclicals such as ABB (-3.9%) and Holcim (-2%) were also among the more heavily sold stocks. Richemont, the previous day's winner, also took some profits. The share fell by 2.3 per cent. Shares in rival Swatch fell 1.1 per cent. Roche lost 0.5 per cent. The pharmaceutical company has to accept a setback in a tiragolumab trial. According to the company, a phase 3 trial with tiragolumab for the treatment of advanced small cell lung cancer did not meet its co-primary endpoint.
European stock indexes gave up some of the ground they gained the day before on Wednesday as Russia denied that a peace deal was within reach in Ukraine. The Stoxx Europe 600 index lost 0.4% to 460.2 points. The CAC 40 and SBF 120 were down 0.7% and 0.8%, respectively. The DAX 40 in Frankfurt gave up 1.5%, while the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.6%. Germany’s annual rate of inflation rose in March at a faster pace than in February, beating forecasts and posting the highest reading since the autumn of 1981, according to preliminary data released by German statistics office Destatis on Wednesday. Consumer prices rose 7.3% on year measured by national standards, beating the 6.2% forecast by economists in a Wall Street Journal poll. They rose 7.6% on year by European Union-harmonized standards, above economists’ forecast of 6.7%. Ericsson AB shareholders used Tuesday’s annual general meeting to air their discontent at the company’s handling of a probe into corruption in Iraq. The Swedish telecommunications equipment maker has been under pressure in recent weeks after it disclosed that an internal investigation had found evidence of historical corruption in Iraq, including the company being unable to determine if certain payments in the country fell into the hands of terrorist organizations. AerCap Holdings NV said it had filed $3.5 billion in insurance claims over more than 100 jetliners the company had rented to Russian airlines and that are now stuck in the country following the imposition of Western sanctions. The world’s largest aircraft-leasing company by value said it had rented 135 aircraft to Russian carriers, and has so far been able to recover 22 of them.
U.S. stocks fell as concerns about rising commodity prices and uncertain progress in cease-fire talks between Russia and Ukraine weighed on investors. The S&P 500 fell 0.6% while the tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index lost 1.2%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.2%. "It just seems like markets are still trying to digest the rally they've seen since Russia invaded Ukraine," said Jake Manoukian, the U.S. head of investment strategy for J.P. Morgan Private Bank. Citigroup is selling its Indian retail banking business to Axis Bank for $1.6 billion in CEO Jane Fraser’s latest move to streamline the lender’s operations. It represents the bank’s eighth exit from a business in the Asian-Pacific region. The sale includes Citigroup’s (ticker: C) credit-cards, retail banking and other businesses lines, which have a total of about 3,600 employees. Citi is keeping its institutional client businesses in India. Meanwhile, shares of Lululemon Athletica climbed $32.95, or 10%, to $376.92 after the company posted higher revenue and profit for the fourth quarter. Robinhood fell $1.35, or 8.5%, to finish at $14.56, giving up some of the large gains that came Tuesday after the brokerage app said it was extending the hours users could trade. Several meme stocks dropped too. Bed Bath & Beyond was down $4.48, or 16%, ending the day at $22.75. Movie-theater chain AMC Entertainment and GameStop, a videogame retailer, also declined.
The East Asian stock markets trended inconsistently in the course of trading on Thursday, following weaker signals from Wall Street. The price fluctuations remained within limits. In Tokyo, the Nikkei index is down half a percent to 27,882 points. The yen is not expected to provide any impetus this time; the development there has calmed down somewhat and at 122.30 per dollar it is holding the recovery gains seen recently.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury note declined to 2.333%, down from 2.357% on Wednesday. The 2y-10y yield curve again missed inversion by a whisker Wednesday. Bank of America said the inversion, which is widely perceived as an indicator of upcoming recession, is a better predictor of Fed cuts.
CS lowers Henkel target to EUR 75 (80) – Neutral
Citi lowers Nordex target to EUR 17 (19.50) – Neutral
JPM raises Shell target to 2,700 (2,600) p – Overweight
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