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A gauge of global equity markets hovered off a record peak on Monday as technology shares took in stride a deal by the world’s richest nations on a global minimum corporate tax aimed at the U.S. tech heavyweights and oil prices jumped to a two-year high.

Oil climbed above $72 a barrel, extending this year’s rally built on rising recovery demand and supply curbs from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, before giving up the gains as investors took profits.

After hitting a record high of 20,067.19 at the open, Canada’s main stock index was little changed on Monday, as losses in resource shares offset gains in tech and cannabis stocks.

The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was unofficially up 6.11 points, or 0.03%, at 20,035.40.

Energy stocks closed down 0.3% as oil prices pulled back on Monday after touching two-year highs on expectations of improved demand and OPEC producers keeping supply curbs in place.

Prices retreated from session highs early, and analysts cited pressure from Chinese data showed crude oil imports fell to a year’s low in May.

“That took away some of the enthusiasm that the oil bulls had seen,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago.

Brent crude settled at $71.49 a barrel, falling 40 cents after hitting $72.27 a barrel, its highest since May 2019.

U.S. West Texas Intermediate settled at $69.23 a barrel after touching $70 for the first time since October 2018.

The materials sector was lower by 0.5% as gold held on to gains as the dollar slid on Monday, with investors awaiting U.S. inflation data later this week for clarity on when the Federal Reserve might start tapering economic support measures.

Spot gold rose 0.3% to $1,895.77 per ounce. U.S. gold futures settled up 0.4% at $1,898.80.

Gold rose over 1% on Friday after a weaker-than-expected U.S. monthly jobs report calmed fears about the Fed reining in monetary stimulus in the near future.

While gold is pretty bullish, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s comments are keeping a lid on prices, said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Futures.

Ms. Yellen said on Sunday that President Joe Biden’s $4 trillion spending plan would be good for the United States even if it contributes to rising inflation and results in higher interest rates, Bloomberg News reported.

The Canadian dollar edged higher against the greenback on Monday but kept to its recent trading range, as Ontario announced earlier than planned easing of COVID-19 curbs and investors awaited a Bank of Canada interest rate decision this week.

The loonie was trading 0.1% higher at 1.2064 to the greenback, or 82.89 U.S. cents, having traded in a range of 1.2056 to 1.2106. Last Tuesday, it touched its strongest level in six years at 1.2007.

Ontario said it will loosen COVID-19 restrictions starting June 11, three days ahead of schedule, as infection rates continue to drift lower.

The Bank of Canada is widely expected to leave its benchmark interest rate on hold at a record low of 0.25% on Wednesday. In April, the central bank signaled it could start hiking rates in late 2022 and tapered its bond purchases.

After lengthy domestic lockdowns and a weaker-than-expected rebound in the U.S. labor market, the Bank of Canada could dial back some of the optimism it showed at the last policy announcement in April,” Benjamin Reitzes, Canadian rates and macro strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note.

“A more cautious tone from the BoC” is likely, Reitzes said.

The S&P 500 ended a languid session nominally lower on Monday, with investors standing by on news of a global minimum corporate tax rate, lingering inflation fears, and a lack of market-moving catalysts.

The Dow joined the S&P to close in negative territory, while the Nasdaq ended higher. Still, the S&P and the Dow remained within one percentage point of their record closing highs.

“Thematically, we’re done with earnings, so you have this lull in between earnings when what drives the market is economic data points,” said Joseph Sroka, chief investment officer at NovaPoint in Atlanta. “There’s not a lot of impetus for investors to take action today.”

“There’s been this flip-flop between whether inflation will be transitory or persistent, and the next card that gets flipped over for that is the CPI report on Thursday,” Sroka added.

Smallcaps outperformed as the ongoing retail frenzy boosted stocks whose recent explosive trading volumes have been attributed to social media buzz.

AMC Entertainment Holdings jumped sharply, extending the previous week’s 85% gain.

Other so-called “meme stocks,” including GameStop Corp and U.S.-listed shares of Blackberry Ltd also advanced.

“You’ve seen a decades-long, technology-enabled democratization of the market and there’s certainly groups of individual investors that flock to these ideas,” Sroka said. “We’re seeing speculative trading in an age of multiple outlets and social media amplifies the news.”

The Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies agreed on Saturday to back a minimum global corporate tax rate of at least 15%, a move Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called a “significant, unprecedented commitment” to bring what she called a race to the bottom on global taxation.

Lawmakers in Washington are doubling down on efforts to craft a bipartisan infrastructure spending package, with House Democrats expected to bring a bill to vote as early as Wednesday.

Unofficially, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 127.01 points, or 0.37%, to 34,629.38, the S&P 500 lost 3.42 points, or 0.08%, to 4,226.47 and the Nasdaq Composite added 67.23 points, or 0.49%, to 13,881.72.

Shares of Biogen Inc surged following news that the Food and Drug Administration approved its Alzheimer’s disease drug aducanumab.

Data center operator QTS Realty Trust jumped on reports of a takeover deal by investment firm Blackstone Group worth $6.7 billion. {nL3N2NP2QW]

Cruise operator Royal Caribbean announced that six of its ships would begin sailing from Florida and Texas ports in July and August.

Its shares edged higher, and also lifted rivals Carnival Corp and Norwegian Cruise Line.

Germany’s 10-year Bund yield was last up 1.3 basis points at -0.197, near a one-month lows hit after Friday’s U.S. unemployment report. The jobs data showed a solid pick-up in hiring but not enough to stir fears of an overheated economy that would lead to tighter U.S. monetary policy.

The big tech firms in the crosshairs of the G7 agreement on Saturday for a minimum global corporate tax rate of at least 15% can at least expect slightly more predictability in their tax obligations in the next few years, said Christopher Smart, chief global strategist at Barings.

A period of unilateral taxes and punitive tariffs from both the United States and European Union has been avoided for the moment, Smart added.

MSCI’s all-country world equity index fell 0.02% to 716.16. The benchmark for global equity markets is heavily weighted to the U.S. tech behemoths, half of which rose and the others fell.

Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index added 0.29% to end at 1,747.17, a new record close. The continent-wide STOXX 600 index also set a new record close at 453.86.


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