Oil, European Stocks Steady After Russia Turmoil:
S&P 500 futures tick lower after stocks slump last week
Central bankers warn of more interest rate hikes this year
Crude oil and European stocks were steady as investors assessed the implications of a dramatic challenge to Vladimir Putin’s rule in Russia and its potential for further turmoil.
After its near 4% slide last week, Brent crude was little changed. Energy shares gave up early gains in Europe, while US equity futures edged lower. A gauge of dollar strength was flat, while gold rose slightly amid little sign of aggressive buying for its haven qualities. Asian shares were mixed as bourses in mainland China opened after a long weekend, amid continued concern over the nation’s economic recovery.
With Russia largely cut off from global financial markets due to sanctions imposed since its invasion of Ukraine, the impact on Monday looked limited. Market moves were modest after the deal that was brokered to halt the Wagner mercenary group’s advance toward Moscow. The agreement includes dropping criminal mutiny charges against Yevgeny Prigozhin and his fighters.
“This weekend’s happenings make us realise is that it’s important to have geopolitical hedges in the portfolio, so we’ve always had commodities fulfil that role,” Trevor Greetham, head of multi asset at Royal London Asset Management Ltd, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “When there is suddenly a big military event, commodity prices can surge and you’ve got that protection.”
Russia is a key producer in the OPEC+ coalition, along with Saudi Arabia, and any prolonged turmoil in the nation could reverberate through global oil markets. The country’s war in Ukraine has already upended trade flows, with major consumers in Asia including China boosting imports of Russian energy.
Gas traders, however, were bracing for more market turbulence given the risks to supply from Russia, with European gas already seeing the highest volatility since the invasion of Ukraine.
Shares of Russian aluminum producer United Co. Rusal International PJSC, which offer some insight into appetite for the nation’s assets via Hong Kong-traded securities, fell as much as 6.5%. The stock has slumped this year amid trading volumes that have fallen precipitously for the company in Hong Kong. The ruble weakened at the open on Moscow Exchange.
Futures for the S&P 500 were lower after US stocks saw their worst week since March. Anxiety has been rising in equity markets that central banks will have to ratchet interest rates higher to tamp down inflation, and in the process push the economy into reverse.
One of Wall Street’s most bearish strategists, Morgan Stanley’s Michael Wilson, said US equities could see a sharp selloff in the near future. “The headwinds significantly outweigh the tailwinds and we believe risks for a major correction have rarely been higher,” Wilson said in a client note on Monday.
Treasury yields were lower. Bonds rallied in Australia and New Zealand, echoing the moves in Treasuries Friday, when US purchasing managers index data showed a decline to lowest level since December.
The yen strengthened after Japan’s top currency official said he wouldn’t rule out any options to handle currency matters appropriately. The yen last week depreciated to the weakest since November after the softer-than-expected PMI data in both Europe and the US fanned fears the global economy may be succumbing to pressure from higher interest rates.
The offshore yuan fluctuated despite China setting its daily reference rate for the currency at a stronger-than-expected level to slow its slide.
Key events this week:
- US new home sales, durable goods, Conference Board consumer confidence, Tuesday
- ECB President Christine Lagarde speaks at ECB forum in Sintra, Portugal, Tuesday
- China industrial profits, Wednesday
- US wholesale inventories, goods trade balance, Wednesday
- Federal Reserve to unveil results of annual banking industry stress test, Wednesday
- Policy panel with ECB’s Christine Lagarde, Fed Chair Jerome Powell, BOJ’s Kazuo Ueda and BOE’s Andrew Bailey at ECB forum in Sintra, Wednesday
- Sweden rate decision, Thursday
- US GDP, initial jobless claims, Thursday
- Atlanta Fed President Rafael Bostic speaks on the US economic outlook at event in Dublin, Thursday
- China manufacturing PMI, non-manufacturing PMI, Friday
- Eurozone CPI, unemployment, Friday
- Japan unemployment, industrial production, Tokyo CPI, Friday
- US personal income and spending, University of Michigan consumer sentiment, Friday