Stocks Hold Gains Ahead of Key Data; Oil Climbs after OPEC + meeting

04/12/2020 Stocks trade mixed globally this morning as investors mull over the recent strength in global equities and wait for key data from the U.S. labour market. Oil extended gains to a nine-month high after an OPEC+ deal.
S&P 500 futures tick higher, while European contracts are a touch softer.

South African stocks gained for a third day yesterday, with the benchmark FTSE JSE Africa All Share Index up 1.14% reaching its highest level since January, buoyed by mining stocks and Sasol top of the pile, gaining 5.87%. The Rand remains firm this morning at 15.17/$ and 20.39/GBP, IG Top a tad firmer + 98 points, Tencent + 0.42%

• Latest Covid-19 numbers: 4 400 new cases bring SA’s total to 800 872, with 21 803 deaths
• Ramaphosa declares Nelson Mandela Bay a Covid-19 hotspot, extends state of national disaster to Jan 2021.
• Sasol Eyes More Asset Sales to Avoid Rights Offer.
• No-Confidence Motion Against President Ramaphosa Put On Hold Pending a Court Tussle.

European markets close mixed amid Brexit uncertainty, the pan-European Stoxx 600 closed marginally up, with the travel and leisure stocks surging 3.5%, while chemicals shares declined 1.1%. The FTSE 100 index outperformed its major European counterparts, climbing 0.4%. CAC – 0.15%, DAX – 0.45%
Overnight the S&P 500 fell just 0.06%, after closing at records two days in a row. The Dow gained 85 points, supported by a jump in Boeing and the Nasdaq eked out a 0.2% gain after hitting an intraday record high. Futures this morning are little changed as markets look to November jobs report data to gauge the pace of labour market recovery in the face of a worsening pandemic. The rate of job gains likely slowed in November due to the spike in new coronavirus cases that led to fresh lockdown restrictions. The U.S. economy is expected to have added 440,000 jobs, compared 638,000 in October, according to Dow Jones. The unemployment rate is estimated to have decreased to 6.7% from 6.9%. The latest weekly jobless claims hit a pandemic-era low, the Labor Department reported Thursday. First-time claims for unemployment benefits totaled 712,000 last week, compared with 787,000 a week earlier and the Dow Jones estimate of 780,000. Still, the claims remained well above the pre-pandemic record.
Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Friday trade after the Pentagon added more Chinese firms to a blacklist of alleged Chinese military companies. Mainland Chinese stocks fell, with the Shanghai composite shed 0.35% while the Shenzhen component sat below the flatline. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was also down 0.16%. Chinas largest chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp and oil producer CNOOC were among firms added to the blacklist. Trading in the Hong Kong-listed shares of SMIC was halted on the back of that news, with the stock last down more than 2% after 3 minutes of trading. CNOOC, or China National Offshore Oil Corp., also saw its Hong Kong-listed stock fall about 2.2%. Elsewhere ASX 200 + 0.28% after Australia’s retail turnover rose 1.4% month-on-month in October on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to figures from the country’s Bureau of Statistics.
OPEC and Russia on Thursday agreed to ease deep oil output cuts from January by 500,000 barrels per day, failing to come to a compromise on a broader policy for the rest of next year. OPEC+ will meet once a month to review conditions and monthly increases will not be greater than 500,000 barrels per day (bpd). The increase means OPEC+ are set to reduce production by 7.2 million bpd, or 7% of global demand from January, compared with current cuts of 7.7 million bpd. Brent + 1.97% $ 49.67, WTI + 1.75% $ 46.43.
Gold prices firmed again this morning setting the way for their first weekly gain in four, as growing optimism over a U.S. fiscal stimulus deal pressured the dollar and boosted the metal’s appeal as an inflation hedge. Gold is up 3% this week. Silver rose 0.1% to $24.09 per ounce and was set to climb 6% in the week. Platinum gained 1.3% to $1,043.19 and palladium was up 1.2% at $2,328.82.