Natural Gas Prices Are Falling Again. Chinese Indices Are Growing Amid Support From The Central Bank

Volatility of the cryptocurrency concept. Candle chart of the rise and fall of prices on the stock exchange — Stock Photo, Image

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The Dow Jones Index (US30) was up 0.12% at Monday's stock market close. The S&P 500 Index (US500) was down 0.11%. The NASDAQ Technology Index (US100) closed negative 0.41%. Stocks traded slightly lower on Monday amid rising 10-year T-note yields and caution ahead of Tuesday's US Consumer Price Index report. On an annualized basis, overall inflation is expected to fall to 3.1% from 3.2%. Core inflation (excluding food and energy prices) will fall from 3.9% to 3.8% y/y. In monthly terms, inflationary pressures are expected to rise by 0.3%. If the data comes out in line with consensus, it would indicate that underlying inflationary trends are not intensifying. However, a stronger-than-expected CPI report would dampen hopes of a near-term Fed rate cut, which could put additional pressure on the indices.

Shares of Nvidia (NVDA) are down 1.98% on Monday, adding to last Friday's 5.47% selloff. Nvidia shares suffered profit-taking last Friday after initially hitting a record high and rising more than 17% over the previous six sessions. Boeing (BA) is down 3.0% after news that the US Department of Justice has opened a criminal investigation into the recent airborne door explosion on an Alaskan Airlines flight. Moderna (MRNA) was Monday's best-performing stock of the NASDAQ benchmark (US100), adding 8.69%. The biotech company rose following news that it is partnering with Merck to begin a mid-stage study to test its experimental cancer vaccine on patients with skin cancer.

Bitcoin (BTCUSD) gained more than 4% on Monday and set a new record high, adding to last week's 9.3% rally. Cryptocurrencies continue to rise because of the US Securities and Exchange Commission's recent decision to allow spot bitcoin ETFs. However, shares of Coinbase (COIN) are down 0.93% on Monday, giving up an early rally of more than 4%.

Equity markets in Europe traded flat yesterday. Germany's DAX (DE40) fell by 0.38%, France's CAC 40 (FR40) lost 0.11%, Spain's IBEX 35 (ES35) rose by 0.19%, and the UK's FTSE 100 (UK100) closed positive 0.12%.

Shares of Austria's Raiffeisen Bank closed 7.4% lower amid concerns over possible US sanctions over its relationship with Russia.

WTI crude oil prices climbed above $78 a barrel on Tuesday, recovering some of the losses of recent sessions. This week, markets await monthly reports from OPEC, the IEA, and the US EIA to assess the outlook for global demand. Investors continue to weigh conflicting supply and demand factors, as OPEC+ production cuts and tensions in the Middle East are offset by rising non-OPEC supply and signs of weak demand from major oil importer China. Data released last week showed that China's oil imports fell about 5.7% to 10.8 million bpd in the first two months of the year, down from 11.44 million bpd in December.

The US natural gas price fell below $1.77 per Mmbbl to a two-week low, driven by reduced gas supplies to LNG export facilities and expectations of weaker demand due to milder weather in the next two weeks. Freeport LNG saw a nearly 50 percent drop in raw gas receipts last week due to the shutdown of one of its three processing lines. On the other hand, energy companies such as EQT and Chesapeake Energy cut gas production last month due to lower gas prices in February. Meanwhile, according to the latest EIA data, gas inventories as of March 1 are about 30.9% above normal levels.

Asian markets traded flat yesterday. Japan's Nikkei 225 (JP225) was down 2.19% on the day, China's FTSE China A50 (CHA50) was up 1.78%, Hong Kong's Hang Seng (HK50) added 1.43% on Monday, and Australia's ASX 200 (AU200) was negative 1.82%.

Hong Kong stocks climbed 1.2% in Tuesday morning trading to a two-week peak 16.735, maintaining bullish momentum for the third consecutive session amid gains in most sectors, especially healthcare, real estate, and consumer discretionary. Investors were scrambling to look for more catalysts after the close of China's annual plenary meeting on Monday. During the event, Beijing set its 2024 GDP growth target at around 5.0% and planned to issue special bonds for large projects. At the same time, China's central bank pledged to keep prices stable and said it may cut the refinancing rate further this year.

Japan's business activity index for large manufacturing companies fell sharply to 6.7% in the first quarter of 2024 from 5.7% in the previous quarter, posting its lowest reading in a year and defying expectations for an improvement to 6.2%. The survey came amid official data that Japan's economy fell into a technical recession in the fourth quarter of last year but was later revised to show a return to growth.

NAB Australia's business confidence index fell to 0 in February 2024 from 1 in January. The reading was below the long-term average, with the retail sector among the top risk factors amid high borrowing costs and rising inflation.

S&P 500 (US500) 5,117.94 −5.75 (−0.11%)

Dow Jones (US30) 38,769.66 +46.97 (+0.12%)

DAX (DE40) 17,746.27 −68.24 (−0.38%)

FTSE 100 (UK100) 7,669.23 +9.49 (+0.12%)

USD Index 102.85 +0.14 (+0.13%)

Important events today:

  • – Japan Producer Price Index (m/m) at 01:50 (GMT+2);
  • – UK Average Earnings Index (m/m) at 09:00 (GMT+2);
  • – UK Claimant Count Change (m/m) at 09:00 (GMT+2);
  • – UK Unemployment Rate (m/m) at 09:00 (GMT+2);
  • – German Consumer Price Index (m/m) at 09:00 (GMT+2);
  • – US Consumer Price Index (m/m) at 14:30 (GMT+2).

More By This Author:

The US Labor Market Is Cooling
Analytical Overview Of The Main Currency Pairs - Friday, March 8
ECB Kept Interest Rates Unchanged And Delayed The First Cut Until The Summer

Disclosure: This article reflects a personal opinion and should not be interpreted as an investment advice, and/or offer, and/or a persistent request for carrying out financial transactions, ...

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