Oil extend gains after Trump ban on Iran, US stocks lifted to records

AFP – Wall Street stocks surged to fresh records on Tuesday following a plethora of mostly good quarterly earnings that reinforced confidence in the economic outlook.

Both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq ended at all-time highs, with the Dow not far behind following the barrage of solid results from major companies across different economic sectors.

The surge came as European bourses notched modest gains in the first day back after the Easter recess, while oil prices continued to push higher after the US announced it would crack down on Iranian exports.

Investors had been cautious heading into first-quarter earnings period, owing to expectations for an overall drop in profits.

But Tuesday’s slate of stock market winners included defense giant Lockheed Martin, soft drinks company Coca-Cola, toymaker Hasbro and social media company Twitter.

The strong results have lifted expectations that stocks could continue to rise, even after an almost unbroken climb higher so far in 2019.

"We are now seeing more signs of solid economic growth, as well as indications that companies not only are reporting better than expected first-quarter earnings but also are continuing to guide for modest earnings growth throughout 2019," Kate Warne, an investment strategist at Edward Jones, told AFP.

Tuesday’s advance comes ahead of a number of other key earnings reports later this week, including from tech giants Amazon and Facebook, as well as Boeing, which will report results for the first time since a March Ethiopian Airlines crash led to the worldwide grounding of its 737 MAX.

"The blue chip results are nice to see, yet this market is probably waiting on a stronger directional cue from the response to earnings reports from Facebook and Amazon later in the week," Briefing.com analyst Patrick O’Hare said.

– Oil rally continues –





Meanwhile, world oil prices struck fresh 2019 highs a day after the White House announced it would end six-month waivers that had exempted numerous countries from US sanctions for buying Iranian oil.

The White House’s announcement means that eight countries — China, India, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Italy and Greece — will face sanctions starting in May if they continue to buy oil from Iran.

"This points to a big drop in the supply side, which boosts the commodity’s price," said Margaret Yang Yan, market analyst at CMC Markets Singapore.

Stephen Innes, head of trading and market strategy at SPI Asset Management, said rising crude prices meant $80 per barrel was now a "possibility".

"Oil quickly re-priced higher on fears that markets could face an immediate supply crunch, adding more pressure to the already tenuous global supply squeeze," he added.

Energy and oil-linked shares jumped on Tuesday, with Tokyo-listed crude developer Inpex rallying 2.8 percent and oil refiner JXTG up 1.1 percent.

In London, BP shot up 2.7 percent and Shell 2.3 percent. Tuesday’s gains by US giants Exxon Mobil and Chevron were modest after they already rallied on Monday.

– Key figures around 2040 GMT –

New York – Dow: UP 0.6 percent at 26,656.39 (close)

New York – S&P 500: UP 0.9 percent at 2,933.68 (close)

New York – Nasdaq: UP 1.3 percent at 8,120.82 (close)

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.9 percent at 7,523.07 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.1 percent at 12,235.51 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.2 percent at 5,591.69 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.1 percent at 3,503.85 (close)

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.2 percent at 22,259.74 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: FLAT at 29,963.24 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.5 percent at 3,198.59 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1224 from $1.1257 at 2100 GMT Monday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2938 from $1.2982

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.85 from 111.94

Oil – Brent Crude: UP 47 cents at $74.51 per barrel

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP 75 cents at $66.30 per barrel

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