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A gauge of global equities was mostly flat on Monday as another drop in Boeing shares and concerns U.S. companies will report a decline in earnings for the first time in three years were offset by rising crude prices that lifted oil shares.

Oil prices rose to their highest since November, driven by fighting in Libya along with ongoing supply cuts pledged by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and U.S. sanctions against Iran and Venezuela.

West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, gained more than 2 per cent while global benchmark Brent rose over 1 per cent, lifting the energy components of the FTSE 100 index in London and the S&P 500 on Wall Street.

BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc contributed the most upside in London, while Exxon Mobil was a big gainer on Wall Street.

But U.S. stocks retreated from the S&P 500’s seven-day winning streak as investors braced for what could be the first decline in corporate profits since 2016 as the quarterly reporting of earnings begins in earnest at the end of the week.

The earnings season will pit negative profit expectations against this year’s stock rally, said Michael Arone, chief investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors in Boston.

“The market is going to struggle to continue to find catalysts to move at this pace. It’s been a great start and a lot of good news already priced into the stock market,” Arone said, referring to the S&P 500’s 15-per-cent gain year-to-date.

If earnings are better than expected and are positive, that could give stocks more upside, especially if the U.S.-China trade war is resolved and economic data remains solid, he said.

Energy stocks powered Canada’s main stock index slightly higher on Monday.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX Composite index was unofficially up 11.14 points, or 0.07 per cent, at 16,407.29.

The energy sector climbed 1.5 per cent, as oil prices rose to five-month highs on OPEC cuts.

Crescent Point Energy Corp. gained 12.2 per cent, while Gran Tierra Energy Inc. and MEG Energy Corp. finished 7.6 per cent and 6.4 per cent higher, respectively.

Health care stocks dipped 1.2 per cent as marijuana producers fell. Cronos Group Inc. was down 5.3 per cent, while Aurora Cannabis Inc. lost 5.3 per cent.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.04 per cent after earlier hitting a six-month high, while in Europe, the FTSEurofirst 300 index of leading regional shares closed down 0.14 per cent. The FTSE 100 rose 0.07 per cent.

Most European shares slid as data showed German exports and imports fell more than expected in February, the latest sign that Europe’s biggest economy will likely post meager growth for the first quarter.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 91.45 points, or 0.35 per cent, to 26,333.54, the S&P 500 gained 2.05 points, or 0.07 per cent, to 2,894.79 and the Nasdaq Composite added 14.21 points, or 0.18 per cent, to 7,952.90

Boeing Co fell 4.4 per cent after the company said it would cut production of its 737 MAX aircraft in response to a worldwide grounding of the jets in the wake of the fatal Ethiopian Airlines crash on March 10.

Boeing’s woes weighed on its suppliers. Spirit AeroSystems and Triumph Group fell 5.1 per cent and 6.2 per cent, respectively.

France’s Safran SA, which provides Boeing with engines for the 737 in a joint venture with General Electric Co , slid 2 per cent.

GE fell 5.2 per cent after JPMorgan downgraded the company’s stock to “underweight” from “neutral.”

The dollar fell against a basket of currencies as recent strong economic data eased worries about global growth and led investors to reduce safe-haven positions in the greenback.

The euro moved further above a one-month low set last week as investors squared positions before a European Central Bank meeting this week.

The dollar index fell 0.34 per cent with the euro up 0.41 per cent to $1.126.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.16 per cent versus the greenback at 111.54 per dollar,

U.S. Treasury debt prices edged lower in generally quiet trading, pressured by upcoming government debt and corporate supply.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell 5/32 in price to lift its yield to 2.5168 per cent.

Greek government bond yields were near their lowest in more than 13 years as encouraging headlines boosted sentiment toward the country and zero percent German Bund yields pushed investors into riskier assets before an ECB meeting on Wednesday.

The yield of Greece’s 10-year bond dropped below the 3.50-per-cent mark for the first time since January 2006, holding around 0.05 percentage point lower on the day at 3.48%.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $1.32 to settle at $64.40 per barrel, while Brent gained 76 cents to settle at $71.10 per barrel.

Gold briefly breached $1,300 an ounce and remained at its highest in more than a week.

U.S. gold futures settled 0.5 per cent higher at $1,301.9 an ounce.

Reuters

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