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Stocks higher

Stocks in London and elsewhere across Europe rose on Thursday morning, clawing back some of the losses from the previous session. The FTSE 100 opened up over half a percent, having slid by almost one-and-half-percent in Wednesday’s session. Shares have been assisted by a steadily rising oil price over the last week, though crude prices have eased back about $1 from yesterday’s more than one-week high. Treasury yields remain firm with 10s near 3.44%, which is pressuring gold to $1,685, its weakest since July, lifted the dollar to a two-day high, just short of its 20-year peak struck earlier this month. 

 

Indices stuck in ranges

Indices remain range-bound. The FTSE is smack in the middle of the range it’s traded for the last 12 months. US markets are in a range of a shorter time frame – since June – prices sitting around the halfway point from the June lows to the August highs. And yesterday was an indecisive session on Wall Street, with the major US indices oscillating between being in the red and green all day. The S&P 500 eventually closed up a third of one percent, led by tech as the Nasdaq Composite rose three-quarters of a percent.

 

New chief at Shell

Shell will enter a new era as chief executive Ben van Beurden steps down after almost a decade at the helm. He’s overseen some remarkable changes as the company ditched its dual share structure, moved headquarters to London, committed to becoming a zero carbon business by 2050, endured a pandemic that saw oil prices collapse and a war in Europe that helped produced record profits. It’s been a funny old ten years for the oil industry with drilling now in vogue again. With shares up 38% YTD and 60% in the last 12 months, and with the company reporting record profits of $11.5bn in July, he’s leaving on something of a high. Renewables boss Wael Sawan takes over as CEO.

 

Today’s data

French inflation a tad higher than forecast at 5.9% on the final reading is just adding to the sense that it’s not peaked. Lots of US data today with retail sales, Empire State and Philly Fed manufacturing indices, industrial production figures, plus the weekly unemployment claims data.  

 

Rail strike

US rail workers could walk out for the first time since 1992, bringing the country’s freight network to a standstill. It could cost the US economy $2bn a day and would lead to yet more supply chain headaches. Workers at companies including Union Pacific, CSX and BNSF – which is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway – are among the 100,000 who could down tools tomorrow.

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