Finance and energy sectors improve: Morning market insights

Wall Street

The New York Stock Exchange rose over the weekend on the back of gains in commodity, financial and energy companies – despite a decline in new-house purchases in the US.

Bank of America (BAC:US) lifted 2.6% to $US9.85 and JP Morgan Chase (JPM:US) increased 1.14% to $45.16. Oil companies Chevron (CVX:US) (up 0.96% to $106.36) and Exxon-Mobil (XOM:US), which rose 0.26% to $85.55, gained on news that new Iranian sanctions would increase oil prices.

“Energy’s leading and it’s a reflection of the news out of Iran and concerns about a potential shortage of oil,” Bruce Bittles, chief investment strategist at Milwaukee-based Robert W. Baird, which oversees $85 billion, told Bloomberg.

“The market’s had a big run the first quarter and we could see some sort of consolidation phase, but I don’t see the market vulnerable to any significant correction. Despite the big run in stocks, investor sentiment has been contained,” Bittles says.

The S&P500 Index was up 0.31% to 1397.11. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.27% to 13080.70.

The NASDAQ Index gained 0.15% or 4.60 points to 3067.92.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil increased 1.44% to $US106.87 a barrel overnight.

Gold was up 1.21% to be trading at $US1662.40 an ounce.

The Australian dollar was up over the weekend, buying $US1.0462 at 7.40am AEST.

Europe

European sharemarkets were mixed over the weekend as the region’s leaders made plans to strengthen a financial firewall to guard against further debt contagion risks.

Italy’s technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti pointed to Spain as the next risk ahead of a meeting this week in Copenhagen where officials will reportedly try to raise the 500 billion euro ceiling on bailout funding. Spain’s 10-year yields have been rising for the last few weeks and are now at 5.39%. Anything over 6% is considered unsustainable.

EU economic and monetary affairs commissioner Olli Rehn told reporters in Finland officials were likely to toughen debt-control defences.

“It doesn’t take much to recreate risks of contagion,” Monti told a conference in Italy yesterday, according to Bloomberg.

The London FTSE 100 closed up 0.16% to 5854.89.

The German DAX was up 14.36 points to 6995.62.

The European Stoxx50 index was down 1.46% to 2530.22.

In London British telecommunications giant BT Group rose 5.40% to 232.1 GB pence over the weekend.

Other movers in London mirrored the US market, with financials and commodity companies gaining.  Ashmore Group (ASHM:LN) was up 3.17% to 377.1000 GB pence, Lloyds Banking (LLOY:LN) lifted 2.06% to 35.975 GB pence and Barclays Bank (BARC:LN) increased 2.05% to 244.5 GB pence.

Miners Antofagasta (ANTO:LN), Kazakhmys (KAZ:LN) and Rio Tinto all improved.

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