Global equity markets rebounded and oil pared its losses on Monday on news of a planned meeting between President Barack Obama and leaders in Congress to discuss an impasse over how to extend the U.S. debt ceiling and end a partial government shutdown.
The lack of an expected deal over the weekend to avert a looming U.S. debt default as early as Oct. 17 weighed on world equity markets earlier in the day and kept the dollar under pressure. The yen rose as some investors sought safer assets.
Obama had planned to meet congressional leaders at 3 p.m. ET to discuss how to raise the $16.7-trillion (U.S.) federal borrowing limit and end a partial shutdown of the federal government, which began Oct. 1.
The meeting was later postponed to allow Senate leaders time to “continue making important progress” on talks over the debt and government shutdown, the White House said.
Earlier, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid emerged from a half-hour meeting with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and said he hoped to have a plan to present to Obama to end the shutdown and to raise the debt limit.
“They are looking for a big agreement sooner rather than later,” said Stephen J. Carl, principal and head equity trader at The Williams Capital Group in New York.
MSCI’s world equity index rose 0.22 per cent after trading lower by about the same earlier, while the FTSE Eurofirst 300 index of leading European shares closed 0.13 per cent higher at 1,252.47 after late-session gains.
The Dow Jones industrial average was up 48.80 points, or 0.32 per cent, at 15,285.91. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index was up 5.30 points, or 0.31 per cent, at 1,708.50. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 19.25 points, or 0.51 per cent, at 3,811.13.
U.S. government debt markets were closed because of Columbus Day, a federal holiday.
Investors started the day skeptical of a deal that had been expected over the weekend, said Brad McMillan, chief investment officer at Commonwealth Financial in Waltham, Massachusetts.
Even if a deal gets done, McMillan said the stand-off had created “justifiable anxiety” and tremendous uncertainty.
“We’ve done more damage both directly to the economy, through the shutdown, and indirectly through postponing decisions and reintroducing uncertainly in the decision processes than anyone appreciates,” McMillan said.
The earlier cautious mood was reflected in the neutral reaction to news that factory output in the euro zone grew at its strongest pace in two years in August.
The dollar, as it has since the budgetary crisis, bore the brunt of the early nervousness but pared losses on news of the White House meeting. It was 0.08 per cent lower against the safer option of the yen, trading at around 98.48 yen.
The greenback also slipped 0.29 per cent against the Swiss franc at 0.9096 francs, while the euro rose 0.2 per cent to $1.3568.
Adding to market worries, China said exports dropped 0.3 per cent in September from a year earlier against expectations of a 6-per-cent rise, while the annual inflation rate hit a 7-month high of 3.1 per cent, limiting the scope for rate cuts.
The decline in exports from the world’s second-largest economy has raised questions over the global recovery, which was highlighted by the IMF last week when it trimmed its forecast to the lowest since the global recession in 2009.
Brent crude hovered around $111 a barrel, while copper rose 0.76 per cent to close at $7,255.00 a tonne as strong imports of the metal from top consumer China boosted optimism about the outlook for demand.
U.S. oil prices rebounded as traders covered short positions in the event U.S. politicians reach a deal to fund the government and avert a debt default.
“We’re trading back and forth on the changing perceptions of what is happening in D.C. at this point,” said Gene McGillian, oil analyst with Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut.
“You saw some short-covering on the latest news that the Senate will have a plan. Nobody wants to be exposed if something should change,” McGillian said.
Brent crude futures fell 24 cents to settle at $111.04. U.S. oil rose 39 cents to settle at $102.41.
German government bond yields held near three-week highs as debt markets in Europe remained confident the United States would resolve its fiscal stalemate.
Safe-haven German Bund futures closed 4 ticks down at 139.75, while 10-year cash yields were flat at 1.86 per cent.