03.04 - New trading month kicks off
- by Roger Gain
A new trading week kicks off, plenty of action to follow.
Here are 4 tips for today's trading. This will help you decide where you should invest and what to look for:
1. Second quarter kicks off
U.S. stock market futures pointed to a slightly higher open on Monday morning, as investors looked ahead to a busy week that includes a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump and culminates in the monthly U.S. jobs report.
The blue-chip Dow futures added 26 points, or around 0.1%, by 09:55 GMT, the S&P 500 futures inched up 2 points, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures tacked on 8 points.
In Europe, stocks were modestly higher in lackluster mid-morning trade, with Germany's DAX up around 0.4%, while London's FTSE 100 increased 0.1%, as investors digested generally upbeat economic data.
Earlier, in Asia, markets ended mostly higher, with Japan's Nikkei gaining around 0.5%. The Shanghai Composite in China was closed for a public holiday.
2. Dollar steady but limited
The dollar was holding steady on Monday but struggled to make break through as investors continued to assess the outlook for rate hikes after dovish remarks from Federal Reserve officials.
The U.S. dollar index was at 100.40 in New York morning trade, keeping distance from last week's four-and-a-half month low of 98.67.
3. Economics around the world
There are three Fed speakers on the calendar for Monday. New York Fed chief William Dudley is expected to be the most important, with a 14:30 GMT discussion on financial conditions.
On the data front, investors will have a look at March U.S. auto sales, construction spending and ISM manufacturing, all released at 14:00 GMT.
Market experts do not expect the Fed to raise interest rates again until June. Futures traders are pricing in around a 50% chance of a hike at the Fed's June meeting. Odds of a September increase was seen at about 75%.
Global manufacturing PMI's point to improving economy: Signs of upbeat factory growth in Europe and Asia gave the global manufacturing sector a solid boost heading into the second quarter.
IHS Markit's final manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index for the euro zone rose to 56.2 in March, the highest since April 2011, from February's 55.4. It was in line with a flash estimate and far above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.
Manufacturing PMIs for Germany, France and Italy all rose compared with the previous month, as an improving global economy boosted export demand in the region's biggest economies.
In the U.K., manufacturing activity registered an unexpected dip in March, falling to a four-month low as inflationary pressures continued to build.
Elsewhere, factories across much of Asia posted another month of solid growth in March. China again led the way, with an official manufacturing index expanding at the fastest pace in nearly five years, while factory surveys showed encouraging growth as well in Japan, India and much of emerging Asia.
4. Oil takes a breather
Oil prices steadied between small gains and losses in European trading on Monday after reaching the strongest level in almost four weeks amid optimism that OPEC will extend its production-cut deal beyond June.
U.S. crude was up 6 cents, or about 0.1%, to $50.67 a barrel. It touched its highest since March 8 at $50.85 in the prior session. Brent added 2 cents to $53.55. The global benchmark hit $53.77 on Friday, the most since March 9.
Oil prices rose around 5% last week, the biggest weekly rise in four months, bolstered by increasing optimism that major producers will keep output capped in the second half of the year.