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Bank Earnings, Oil Slips, Futures Slide Lower – What’s Moving Markets


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By Noreen Burke — U.S. futures point to lower open on Monday with markets in a cautious mood ahead of a busy week of first quarter earnings results, while underlying concerns over the war in Ukraine and a hawkish Federal Reserve continue to weigh. Trade remains subdued with markets in much of Europe still shut for Easter holidays. Oil prices pull back from three-week highs as data out of China pointing to economic weakness contributes to the risk-off mood. Here’s what you need to know in financial markets on Monday, 18th April.

1. Wall Street set for lower open, bank earnings back in focus

U.S. stock markets are set to open slightly lower later as investors brace for a busy week of earnings reports against a backdrop of uncertainty over the future path of interest rates.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) reports quarterly results Monday ahead of the open, along with Bank of New York Mellon (NYSE:BK) and financial services company Charles Schwab (NYSE:SCHW).

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS), Citigroup (NYSE:C), Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS), and Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC), all posted first quarter results last week. And while all four came in ahead of estimates, they also reported steep declines in profits.

By 6:15 AM ET, Dow Jones futures were down 89 points, or 0.2%, while S&P 500 futures slid 0.4% and Nasdaq 100 futures were a touch lower, down 0.6%.

All three major U.S. stock indexes had closed lower on Thursday ahead of the Good Friday holiday and posted a weekly loss, pressured by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

2. Oil slips from 3-week highs

Oil prices pulled back from their highest levels in three weeks Monday as concerns over slowing demand from China offset worries over tight global supply amid fallout from the war in Ukraine.

By 6:15 AM ET, U.S. crude futures were down 0.2% at $106.21 a barrel, while Brent was trading at $111.64 a barrel, off the high of $113.80 hit earlier in the session.

While China’s first quarter GDP growth topped forecasts, a steep decline in retail sales in March added to concerns over the outlook for the world’s second largest economy, already suffering from COVID-19 lockdowns.

Oil prices had risen earlier as supply disruptions in Libya added to concerns over the deepening crisis in Ukraine with major oil traders expected to shun Russian barrels to avoid falling foul of European Union sanctions on Russia, the world’s second largest crude exporter.

3. Risk off mood

The risk off mood in markets boosted demand for safe haven assets, sending gold to one-month highs and boosting the dollar.

U.S. gold futures were up 0.9% at $1,993.40 by 6:15 AM ET, the highest since March 11.

The dollar index was at 100.70, up 0.4% on the day, while the yen fluctuated after Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said earlier Monday the currency’s recent moves had been “quite sharp” his strongest warning yet about the risks arising from the currency’s depreciation, which have seen it hit two-decade lows against the dollar.

U.S. bond yields moved higher, with the 2-year and 10-year Treasury yields at around 2.49% and 2.86%, respectively, overnight.

4. Tesla may delay reopening Shanghai factory

Reuters reported Monday that Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) may be forced to delay plans to begin reopening its Shanghai factory for a day due to logistic problems with its supplier.

On Monday, manufacturers including Tesla began preparations to reopen their Shanghai plants as the city tries to get back to normal after a nearly three-week COVID-19 lockdown.

SAIC Motor (SS:600104), the Chinese partner of Volkswagen (ETR:VOWG_p) and General Motors (NYSE:GM) said it would start stress-testing its own production resumption plans on Monday, Reuters reported.

Investors will also be keeping an eye on Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) stock on Monday after a cryptic tweet by Tesla CEO Elon Musk.

Musk posted a tweet on Saturday saying, “Love Me Tender,” days after he took aim at Twitter with a $43 billion cash takeover offer.

Musk has become the San Francisco-based company’s second-largest shareholder after amassing a 9.1% stake in the social media platform.

5. Bullard speech, IMF/World Bank spring meetings start

Investors will be looking ahead to a speech by St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard later in the day.

Bullard was the only official on the Fed’s rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee to vote in favor of a half a percentage point interest rate hike at the central bank’s March meeting, instead of the quarter-percentage-point increase the bank delivered.

A half-percentage-point rate increase at the Fed’s upcoming May 4-5 meeting is seen as almost certain as the central bank moves more aggressively to tackle inflation which is running at a four-decade high.

Also Monday, the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank get underway.

— Reuters contributed to this report

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