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U.S. Stocks Climb While Oil Falls Amid Suez Block: Markets Wrap

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Claire Ballentine
·3 min read
U.S. Stocks Climb While Oil Falls Amid Suez Block: Markets Wrap
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(Bloomberg) -- U.S. equities gained amid progress in distributing vaccines and as investors weighed the outlook for economic growth and inflation. Oil tumbled after a rally spurred by the blockage of the Suez Canal.

Banks and transportation companies led gains on the S&P 500 Index, and Boeing Co.’s plan to resume delivery of its 787 Dreamliners this week lifted the planemaker. An index of small-cap shares gained more than 2% as President Joe Biden announced a new goal of administering 200 million Covid-19 vaccine doses in his first 100 days in office. Nike Inc. fell on concern it risked a boycott in China.

U.S. 10-year yields held steady after an auction of seven-year notes. Poor demand at last month’s sale helped trigger a global selloff in government debt and interest-rate sensitive stocks.

U.S. equities are churning just below record highs as investors assess the latest progress and setbacks in the fight against Covid-19 amid concerns that a surge in economic growth could fuel inflation. Data Thursday showed a bigger-than-forecast drop in weekly jobless claims.

“The markets are stuck in a lull where they are still taking some direction from the move in interest rates,” said Megan Horneman, director of portfolio strategy at Verdence Capital Advisors. “At this point we’re trying to get some more news globally that will be the next catalyst.”

In Europe, stocks edged lower, with concern over lockdown extensions and vaccine hiccups keeping cyclical shares on the back foot. The Polish zloty slumped to its weakest level since 2009 on growing concern that a worsening pandemic will delay this year’s economic recovery and put a strain on the budget.

West Texas Intermediate crude fell below $60 a barrel, after adding almost 6% Wednesday. Tugs and diggers are trying to dislodge the ship stuck for a third day in the Suez Canal, a critical waterway for trade.

Elsewhere, Bitcoin fell as much as 6.7%, reaching the lowest intraday price since March 15.

These are some key events to watch this week:

The U.S. Treasury auctions seven-year debt.U.S. personal income and spending data on Friday.

These are some of the main moves in financial markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 Index rose 0.5% as of 4 p.m. New York time.The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.1%.The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1%.The MSCI Emerging Market Index declined 0.8%.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1%.The euro slipped 0.3% to $1.1774.The British pound gained 0.4% to $1.374.The Japanese yen weakened 0.4% to 109.12 per dollar.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 1.62%.Germany’s 10-year yield fell three basis points to -0.39%.Britain’s 10-year yield sank three basis points to 0.73%.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude fell 4.5% to $58.44 a barrel.Gold fell 0.5% to $1,726.76 an ounce.

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