Global stock markets were higher yesterday, as investors prepared themselves for a likely increase in US interest rates.
On Wall Street, the Dow rose from record peaks, lifted by a Boeing dividend boost.
And on this side of the Atlantic, all of the main indices ended the session higher, with London’s FTSE 100 index advancing 0.6% to 7,500.41, the Paris CAC 40 index adding 0.8% to 5,427.19 and Frankfurt’s DAX 30 up 0.5% at 13,183.53.
Energy stocks, in particular, were being boosted by a general increase in crude prices.
“The shutdown of the Forties pipeline can have a durable impact on the price because it adds to the tighter supply picture brought about by Opec’s output cuts,” said London Capital Group analyst, Jasper Lawler.
“We suspect... that Brent is on its way to challenge the 2015 high near $68 per barrel.”
Some degree of profit-taking had set in by late afternoon, with crude prices coming off recent highs. But the overall rise has energised the oil sector because higher prices tend to translate into bumper profits and revenues.
In London, Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell’s ‘A’ shares jumped 1.7% to 2,452 pence and British rival BP gained 2.4% to 511 pence.
French oil and gas titan Total saw its share price rally 1.5% to €47.78 in Paris.
Focus this week, meanwhile, is also on monetary policy meetings of central banks in the US, Britain and the eurozone.
Today, the US Federal Reserve unveils its latest decision, followed tomorrow by both the bank of England (BoE) and the European Central Bank.
The Fed is expected to announce an increase in the benchmark rate and outline the prospects for additional increases in 2018.
“European markets are trading in positive territory, with oil stocks particularly buoyant after the shutdown of the Forties Pipeline sent Brent crude oil to a 30-month high,” said Rebecca O’Keeffe, head of investment at online stockbroker Interactive Investor.
“With all eyes on central banks this week, investors will be hoping that (ECB chief) Mario Draghi will remain the benevolent Santa Claus for markets and not turn into Scrooge,” she told AFP.
Despite UK annual inflation hitting a near six-year high in November, according to official data yesterday, the BoE was expected to keep rates on hold at its meeting this week.
In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei ended down 0.3%, while Shanghai sank more than 1% by the close and Hong Kong was off 0.6%.
Bitcoin futures for January ended at $18,850as the cryptocurrency launched in a major exchange Sunday, well above its $15,000 initial price on the Chicago board options exchange (Cboe).
The Cboe launch marked the first opportunity for professional traders to invest in the digital unit on a traditional platform and is expected to be followed in a week by a rival listing on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
The spot price for Bitcoin quoted by Bloomberg – which is lower than the Cboe – rose slightly yesterday, sitting at $16,930.
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