Surging oil prices lift U.S. material, energy stocks; Yen wilts

By Koh Gui Qing (Mon, October 11, 2021)

Oil prices surged on Monday to multi-year peaks, boosting U.S. materials and energy stocks, but fears that rising prices would exacerbate supply-chain snags caused Wall Street to give up early gains.

Higher vaccination rates against the coronavirus have supported a revival in economic activity, helping Brent prices to gain for five weeks and U.S. crude for seven.

U.S. crude jumped 2.5% to $81.31 per barrel, a level not seen since late 2014, and Brent rallied 1.9% to $83.98. [O/R]

Analysts are divided over whether energy supplies are tight enough to warrant oil testing $100 a barrel, but most seemed to agree prices are likely to stay elevated in the short-term.

Basic materials and energy stocks in the S&P 500 jumped 0.96% and 0.88% respectively, Refinitiv data showed, outperforming the broader market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average pared early gains and was off 0.06%, the S&P 500 dipped 0.04%, and the Nasdaq Composite inched up just 0.09%.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.05% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.25%.

However, as U.S. companies enter the third-quarter earnings season next week, some analysts anticipate businesses reporting slowing growth due to supply-chain snags and rising prices. This could lead to a drop in U.S. stocks, some analysts warned.

“Whether the final chapter of the mid-cycle transition ends with a 10% or 20% correction in the S&P 500 will be determined by how much earnings growth decelerates or has to outright decline,” Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note.

“We are gaining confidence in a sharper deceleration but the timing is more uncertain.”

Bets that rising prices would prompt major central banks to tighten monetary policy sooner rather than later pushed up bond yields and lifted the dollar to a near three-year peak against the Japanese yen.

In the United States, investors expect the Federal Reserve to begin tightening policy by announcing a tapering of its massive bond-buying next month. This has hobbled the yen, which is typically sensitive to interest-rate differentials.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.99% versus the greenback at 113.36 per dollar, while the dollar index rose 0.112%.

A stronger dollar pushed the euro down 0.01% to $1.1566. [USD/]

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield climbed to 1.6118% from 1.605% late on Friday. Yields on the 2-year note also rose to 0.3198% from 0.318%. [US/]

Gold, usually seen as a hedge against inflation, was little changed, however, as a stronger dollar limited gains in bullion. Spot gold was steady at $1,756.26 an ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 0.03% to $1,755.80 an ounce. [GOL/]

In keeping with gains in the stock market, Bitcoin, a barometer of investors’ risk appetites, rose 4.71% to $57,292.92.

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