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U.S. Stocks Retreat as Metals Prices Gain, Dollar Drop

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U.S. stocks fell, as commodities from copper to gold advanced amid a slide in the dollar that was fueled by speculation global growth may not be strong enough to warrant further central-bank tightening. Crude erased an advance to fall back below $32 a barrel.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index retreated after rising 0.8 percent. Disappointing results at retailers dragged consumer shares lower. Crude slid, while the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index headed for its biggest two-day loss since 2009. Emerging-market equities rallied almost 3 percent. The pound fell after Ian McCafferty, the Bank of England’s only policy dissenter over the past six months, dropped his call for higher interest rates.

The dollar’s retreat was sparked by data showing the U.S. services sector grew at the slowest pace in nearly two years, underscoring the vulnerability of the American economy to unsteadiness abroad. The report tipped the fixed-income market’s balance closer toward zero rate hikes by the Federal Reserve this year, amid prospects central banks from Asia to Europe will act to quell the turmoil that’s roiled markets in 2016. The greenback’s drop helped prop up the price of gold and industrial metals.

“The lower the dollar, the better it is for commodities, so we are seeing a little bounce back,” Andrew Brenner, head of international fixed income at National Alliance Capital Markets in New York said by phone. “The number of Fed rate raises has continued to be reduced by the market place, probably a little bit too much. But yes the Fed will cut back, we will not do four interest rates raises this year.”

Stocks

The S&P 500 fell 0.3 percent to 1,907 at 2:51 p.m. in New York. The gauge advanced yesterday for the first time this month, erasing a drop of more than 1 percent as oil’s surge topped 7 percent. The benchmark equity gauge is down more than 6 percent so far in 2016.

Materials shares advanced 2.2 percent, as Freeport McMoRan Inc. surged with copper. Energy producers fell 0.2 percent after earlier gaining. Shares in consumer-discretionary stocks fell. Kohl’s Corp. sank 19 percent after slow sales squeezed profits. Ralph Lauren Corp. plunged after the company cut its annual forecast.

Economic data did little to alter perceptions on the strength of the world’s largest economy. Initial jobless claims last week rose more than expected, Labor Department data showed, while factory orders declined at a faster pace in December than the previous month.

“The question is what can we hang our hat on right now? It’s not earnings, it’s not what central banks are able to do, and it’s certainly not what we’re seeing with economic data,” Yousef Abbasi, global market strategist at JonesTrading Institutional Services LLC in New York, said by phone. “Central banks continue to take their targets down on growth and inflation and part of today’s frustration came with the whippiness of crude.”

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell 0.2 percent, after rising as much as 1.1 percent. Daimler AG led automakers to among the biggest declines out of the 19 industry groups. Gauges of energy shares and commodity producers jumped more than 3.3 percent, for the best performances.

Credit Suisse Group AG slumped 11 percent to its lowest price since August 1992 after posting a quarterly loss as it wrote off goodwill and set aside provisions for litigation, while its two investment-banking divisions slumped.

Emerging Markets

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index rose 2.6 percent, with more than five stocks advancing for every one that declined. Material and energy producers led gains among 10 industry groups, climbing almost 5 percent.

Russia’s Micex Index jumped 2.4 percent, the most in a week, and shares in Dubai rallied 2.8 percent. Equity benchmarks in South Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines and South Africa rose at least 0.8 percent.

Emerging-market currencies headed for a two-day advance. Malaysia’s ringgit and South Korea’s won strengthened at least 1.4 percent against the dollar, sending a gauge of developing-nation exchange rates toward a one-month high. Turkey’s lira erased this year’s losses.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, a gauge of the greenback against 10 major peers, retreated 0.6 percent after sliding as much as 1.9 percent last session.

The greenback fell against all of its 16 major peers except Mexico’s peso and the British pound, which was weighed down by the Bank of England ’s unanimous vote to keep interest rates unchanged. Officials signaled borrowing costs will stay low as they cut their growth and inflation forecasts.

The dollar slipped 1 percent to 116.67 yen, after erasing all its gains since the BOJ’s surprise Jan. 29 move. The greenback weakened 1 percent to $1.1214 per euro, and has now fallen every day this week.

Commodities

The Bloomberg Commodity Index, which measures returns on raw materials, fell 0.2 percent after earlier rallying as much as 1.2 percent. The gauge advanced 1.9 percent yesterday.

Oil sank after rallying earlier. West Texas Intermediate fell 1.9 percent to $31.67 a barrel in New York, after jumping as much as 4.1 percent. Some OPEC member states and non-members have been talking about an extraordinary meeting on production.

Statoil ASA, Norway’s biggest oil company, deepened investment cuts and offered to pay dividends in stock. Royal Dutch Shell Plc said it depleted its oil and gas reserves much faster than it replenished them with new resources in 2015, its worst performance since 12 years ago.

Industrial metals benefited from a drop in the U.S. currency that makes dollar-denominated commodities cheaper for investors. Aluminum for delivery in three months climbed to the highest this year on the LME, and lead advanced for the eighth day in a row, the longest run since June 2014.

Spot gold climbed for a fifth day, the longest run of gains in five months, as expectations of continued low U.S. interest rates seeped through the market.

Bonds

The Treasury 10-year note yield slipped two basis points to 1.87 percent. The yield dropped to 1.79 percent Wednesday, the lowest level since February 2015. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Pacific Investment Management Co. say bonds are poised to fall and traders aren’t prepared for how far the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates.

Spanish and Italian government bonds led declines across the euro region as investors questioned the level of additional stimulus they can expect from the European Central Bank.

Bloomberg

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Energy

Unlocking Investments into Africa’s Renewable Energy Market

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green energy - Investors King

The African Energy Guarantee Facility (AEGF) is launching a virtual roadshow of free webinars allowing a deeper understanding of risk issues for renewable energy projects on the continent, and conversations around risk mitigation solutions. The first webinar will take place on Thursday, 23 September from 14:30-16:00 hrs. EAT. 

The session will be oriented on how to get more energy projects from the drawing board to the grid. While the energy demand in African economies is expected to nearly double by 2040, and although the potential for renewable energy is 1,000 times larger than the demand, only 2GW out of almost 180GW of this new renewable power were added on the African continent.

Clearly not good enough! To improve the situation within the next two decades, new solutions need to be implemented urgently. De-risking and promoting private sector investments will play a crucial part of it.

In this 90-min interactive session, AEGF partners: the European Investment Bank (EIB), KfW Development Bank, Munich Re and the African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI) will share their experience and provide valuable insights on how they were able to come together and design practical solutions for investors and financiers of green energy projects in Africa aligned with SDG7 objectives.

Across Africa, the complexity of renewable energy projects and their long tenors hold back crucial energy investment. Tailored to the specific needs and risk profiles of sustain­able energy projects, AEGF will tackle the investment challenge by providing underwriting expertise and capacity tailored to market needs.

The AEGF will significantly boost private investment in sustainable energy projects, both expanding access to clean energy and contribute to achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals. The scheme supports new private sector investment in eligible renewable energy, energy efficiency and energy access projects in sub-Saharan Africa.

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Energy

Shell Signs Agreement To Sell Permian Interest For $9.5B to ConocoPhillips

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Shell profit drops 44 percent

Shell Enterprises LLC, a subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell plc, has reached an agreement for the sale of its Permian business to ConocoPhillips, a leading shales developer in the basin, for $9.5 billion in cash. The transaction will transfer all of Shell’s interest in the Permian to ConocoPhillips, subject to regulatory approvals.

“After reviewing multiple strategies and portfolio options for our Permian assets, this transaction with ConocoPhillips emerged as a very compelling value proposition,” said Wael Sawan, Upstream Director. “This decision once again reflects our focus on value over volumes as well as disciplined stewardship of capital. This transaction, made possible by the Permian team’s outstanding operational performance, provides excellent value to our shareholders through accelerating cash delivery and additional distributions.”

Shell’s Upstream business plays a critical role in the Powering Progress strategy through a more focused, competitive and resilient portfolio that provides the energy the world needs today whilst funding shareholder distributions as well as the energy transition.

The cash proceeds from this transaction will be used to fund $7 billion in additional shareholder distributions after closing, with the remainder used for further strengthening of the balance sheet. These distributions will be in addition to our shareholder distributions in the range of 20-30 percent of cash flow from operations. The effective date of the transaction is July 1, 2021 with closing expected in Q4 2021.

Shell has been providing energy to U.S. customers for more than 100 years and plans to remain an energy leader in the country for decades to come.

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Crude Oil

Oil Gains 1 Percent on Possible Tight Supply 

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Oil prices - Investors King

Oil prices rose on Tuesday as analysts pointed to signs of U.S. supply tightness, ending days of losses as global markets remain haunted by the potential impact on China’s economy of a crisis at heavily indebted property group China Evergrande.

Brent crude gained 95 cents or 1.3% to $74.87 a barrel by 0645 GMT, having fallen by almost 2% on Monday. The contract for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) , which expires later on Tuesday, was up 91 cents or 1.3% at $71.20 after dropping 2.3% in the previous session.

Global utilities are switching to fuel oil due to rising gas and coal prices, and lingering outages from the Gulf of Mexico after Hurricane Ada that imply less supply is available, ANZ analysts said.

“While slowing Chinese economic growth and uncertainty around the (U.S.) Fed’s tapering timetable weighed on market sentiment, other developments still point to higher oil prices,” ANZ Research said in a note.

Still, investors across financial assets have been rocked by the fallout from heavily indebted Evergrande (3333.HK) and the threat of a wider market shakeout in the longer term.

“Evergrande’s woes are threatening the outlook for the world’s second-largest economy and making some investors question China’s growth outlook and whether it is safe to invest there,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at OANDA.

While that view of the state of China’s economy is weighing on markets, the U.S. Federal Reserve is also expected to start tightening monetary policy – likely to make investors warier of riskier assets such as oil.

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