Oil prices slide as coronavirus lockdown concerns outweigh Suez Canal disruptions

25/03/2021 Asian stocks and U.S. equity futures fluctuated Thursday as traders assessed the economic rebound from the health crisis. Oil pared a rally sparked by shipping disruption after a container vessel blocked the Suez Canal.
Tech giants from Tencent to Alibaba dived after U.S. regulators revived threats to toss China’s largest corporations off U.S. bourses, compounding concerns of a widening domestic antitrust crackdown. Tencent and Alibaba slid more than 5% in Hong Kong in early trade before paring losses, joining a U.S. selloff that wiped more than 20% off Chinese tech names including Tencent Music Entertainment and iQiyi Inc., Baidu Inc.’s Netflix-like
streaming subsidiary. The Hang Seng Technology Index slid as much as 5% to its lowest since November.

Locally the JSE tracked world markets lower, falling for a third day in a row. The All Share closed down 0.09%, well off its lows of the early morning session. We could see yet another lower open with Asia mixed but 700 HK down 2.33%. US Futures are better with the DOW + 116 points, S&P + 12 points and the Nasdaq + 38 points, IG Top 40 is also up 84 points

South Africa’s central bank is due to announce its interest rate decision just after 3 p.m. this afternoon, with economists in a Bloomberg survey expecting policy makers to hold the key rate at a record low of 3.5%.

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ECONOMIC DATA:
11:30am: Feb. PPI YoY, est. 3.6%, prior 3.5%
11:30am: Feb. PPI MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.8%
European stocks closed mixed on Wednesday amid renewed concerns over the global economic recovery outlook and a surge of Covid infections. The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended up 0.02%, with sectors and major bourses pointing in opposite directions. Mining and construction stocks led the gains, rising 1.2%, while autos slipped 1.5%. In Europe, authorities continue to struggle with the virus as the region experiences a third Covid wave that has prompted France and Germany to extend lockdown measures. FTSE + 0.20% ,DAX – 0.35% ,CAC +0.03%
Overnight the S&P 500 fell 0.6% after rising as much as 0.8% during the day, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq dropped 2% to close at its session low. Apple, Facebook and Netflix all slid more than 2%, while Tesla fell 4.8%. The Dow, which had outpaced its peers in positive territory for most of the day, dipped into the red in the final seconds of the session. The Dow industrials had jumped more than 300 points at its session high. The Dow’s afternoon weakness came as reopening trades like airlines and cruise operators reversed earlier strength. Norwegian Cruise Line dropped 4.9%, while Royal Caribbean and Carnival fell 1.9% and 2.8%, respectively. Delta and United Airlines also ended the day lower. Pressure on equities came even as bond yields continued to decline from recent highs. The 10-year Treasury yield dipped 3 basis points to 1.61% Wednesday, falling for a third day after the rate hit a 14-month high last week.
Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Thursday trade as tech stocks in the region took a hit following a sell-off in the sector overnight on Wall Street and revived threats to toss China’s largest corporations off U.S. bourses. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 rose 0.87% while the Topix index gained 1.13%. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.11% while the ASX 200 is up 0.17%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan shed 0.19%. Tencent down 2.33%
Oil prices lost around 2% as fuel demand concerns re-emerged fresh coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, trimming overnight gains spurred by the grounding of a giant container ship blocking crude shipments through the Suez Canal. Brent – 1.82% $ 63.29, WTI – 2.03% $ 59.94.
Gold prices are steady this morning as support from easing U.S. Treasury yields was offset by a strong dollar, which emerged as a preferred safe-haven amid growing concerns about extended lockdowns in Europe. The dollar hit a fresh four-month high to the euro on Thursday amid worries about Europe’s third COVID-19 wave and potential U.S. tax hikes. Gold is flat at $ 1734, Palladium fell 0.2% to $2,630.32, silver rose 0.1% to $25.10 and platinum was up 0.2% at $1,169.96.