Stocks rebound, oil falls in volatile trading

By: AFP
Published: 11:40 PM, 9 Mar, 2022
Stocks rebound, oil falls in volatile trading
Caption: Stocks rebound, oil falls in volatile trading.
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Oil prices tumbled while US and European stocks surged on Wednesday after days of market turmoil over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Wall Street pushed solidly higher, with the three main indices above two percent in afternoon trading.

In Europe, Frankfurt's benchmark DAX index and the CAC 40 in Paris both soared by more than seven percent.

London's FTSE 100 closed the day 3.3 percent higher, despite losses earlier in Asia.

"Markets in Europe have seen a sizeable rebound today, led by the DAX with decent sector gains across the board, helped by comments from the Russian foreign ministry which stated that it would be better if their goals in Ukraine were achieved through talks," said CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson.

Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare said that from the rebound one can extrapolate that investors are feeling better about the Russia-Ukraine situation.

But "market participants should know by now, of course, that talk from Russia is cheap," O'Hare said.

OANDA analyst Craig Erlam told AFP the surge in European stocks is likely a "dead cat bounce" -- a market term referring to a rebound that briefly interrupts a prolonged downturn. 

"We appear to be seeing a temporary corrective move," Erlam said, predicting the rebound would not last as Russia continues to wage war on Ukraine.

"The invasion is still happening, sanctions are still being imposed and oil prices are still high," he noted.

"None of that is conducive with a sustainable stock market recovery."

Major Asian markets declined Wednesday as investors dwelled on Washington's Russian oil and gas ban.

EU nations, which receive roughly 40 percent of their gas imports and one quarter of their oil from Russia, opted to set a goal of cutting their Russian gas imports by two-thirds.

Brent crude tumbled 12.4 percent to around $112 per barrel, still a high figure one day after the United States and Britain moved to ban imports of Russian crude as part of Western sanctions on Moscow.

CMC Markets' Hewson noted that Brent has tried but failed to hold above $130 for the past three days.

"The inability to hold above here appears to have prompted a little bit of an unwind in positioning, with some profit taking," he said.

$240 oil

Brent had spiked to $139 on Monday -- about $8 short of an all-time record -- in expectation of the US embargo.

European natural gas prices languished far below this week's record peak, despite fears over the region's reliance on Russian gas.

Europe gas reference Dutch TTF slid 4.1 percent to 159.50 euros per megawatt hour, having leapt at the start of this week to an all-time high at 345 euros.

But oil prices could rocket further if more nations slap sanctions on Russian crude, according to Bjornar Tonhaugen, head of oil markets at Rystad Energy.

"Oil prices could hit $240 per barrel this summer in the worst-case scenario if Western countries roll out sanctions on Russia's oil exports en masse," Tonhaugen said.

"Market volatility is at an all-time high, with... the expectation that supply will further tighten due to restrictive sanctions on Russian energy from the West."

The crisis has also fuelled fears that the fragile global recovery from Covid-19 will be replaced by a period of stagflation, in which inflation surges and economies flatline or contract.

Haven investment gold declined Wednesday, one day after hitting a near-record $2,070 per ounce -- the highest since August 2020.

Key figures around 1800 GMT 

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 12.4 percent at $112.15 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 11.4 percent at $109.59

New York - Dow: UP 2.2 percent at 33,345.87 points

EURO STOXX 50: UP 7.4 percent at 3,766.02

Frankfurt - DAX: UP 7.9 percent at 13,847.93 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 7.1 percent at 6,387.83 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 3.3 percent at 7,190.72 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 24,717.53 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.7 percent at 20,627.71 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 1.1 percent at 3,256.39 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1083 from $1.0899 Tuesday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3183 from $1.3104

Euro/pound: UP at 84.05 pence from 83.18 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 115.80 yen from 115.67 yen

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.