Christmas comes early | Calamatta Cuschieri

News that OPEC had finally agreed to the first oil output cut in eight years led markets to close high

OPEC agreed to cut daily production to 32.5 million barrels
OPEC agreed to cut daily production to 32.5 million barrels

Global markets pushed higher on Wednesday with all eyes on Vienna for the highly-anticipated meeting of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), as they finally agreed to the first oil output cut since 2008.  

The news was music to the ears of investors worldwide. European markets closed higher on Wednesday, as investors cheered the agreement, and sent oil stocks soaring, leading gains in the region’s equity market. US stocks also rose, with major indices hitting their latest series of record highs, thanks to one of the strongest days in months for the energy sector.

OPEC give thumbs up

After weeks on tense negotiation, OPEC’s three biggest producers – Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Iran – resolved differences of sharing the burden of cuts to rein in supply for the first time since 2008.

The 14-member group of oil producers agreed to cut daily production to 32.5 million barrels. The agreement, which is also likely to call for a reduction of about 600,000 barrels a day by non-OPEC countries, pushed up crude oil by 7.5% to trade just under $50 a barrel during afternoon trade in London. Though this level is still half of what it was in mid-2014, it should be seen as a step up for oil prices in 2016, which had sunk to a record low of $30 a barrel in February.

Energy stocks were by far the strongest movers during Wednesday’s session, and comprised all the S&P 500’s 15 biggest gainers of the day. Among the biggest individual movers, Marathon Oil surged 21% on the day, while Devon Energy and Murphy Oil both advanced 14%. Elsewhere, shares of Chesapeake Energy jumped 11.5%.

Stress tests

Near the bottom on the FTSE 100 was Royal Bank of Scotland. Its shares slid 4% after the bank failed a tougher stress test of systemic UK banks, the Bank of England (BOE) said on Wednesday. However, the bank recovered some of those losses during the remainder of the session, to close the day 2% lower.

The process also revealed capital inadequacies at Standard Chartered plc, and Barclays plc. Fortunately, both lenders will not have to submit new capital plans because they have already undertaken capital strengthening measures, the BOE said in a statement. Shares of both companies rebounded to trade higher in the session, with Standard Chartered posting a gain of 1.55%, and Barclays closing 1.08% higher.

Another month gone…

As trading for November came to a close, the Stoxx 600 managed to record a monthly rise of 0.8%. That marks the benchmark’s first advance after two monthly losses.

The Eurozone’s annual rate of inflation rose to 0.6% in November, the highest since April 2014, Eurostat said on Wednesday. But the rate remained well below the European Central Bank’s target of just under 2%. ECB policymakers will meet on Thursday next week, and investors will watch whether they decide to continue its bond-buying programme that’s set to expire in March.

Economic data has been at the forefront for investors as they brace themselves for a possible interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve next month.

This article was issued by Rebecca Naudi, Trader at Calamatta Cuschieri. For more information visit, www.cc.com.mt. The information, view and opinions provided in this article is being provided solely for educational and informational purposes and should not be construed as investment advice, advice concerning particular investments or investment decisions, or tax or legal advice. Calamatta Cuschieri Investments Services Ltd has not verified and consequently neither warrants the accuracy nor the veracity of any information, views or opinions appearing on this website.

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