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Markets

Oil surges as US stocks waffle on valuation fears

  • However, Coinbase shares finished at $328.28, well below the session peak of $429.54.
15 Apr 2021

NEW YORK: Oil prices surged Wednesday and most European markets closed higher on increased optimism for a post-pandemic economic rebound, though Wall Street struggled with concerns over excessive equity valuations.

And crude prices added more than four percent, responding to news of drawdowns from US reserves and higher demand forecasts from the International Energy Agency as the global growth outlook brightens.

"With other risk assets also rising, there is no doubt that optimism over the re-opening of global economies has also helped to fuel the rally after a lengthy consolidation in recent weeks," said Fawad Razaqzada of Thinkmarkets.

While both the IEA and OPEC, the oil producing countries' club, have lifted demand expectations, the cartel and its allies plan to reverse pandemic production cuts only slowly.

"Demand looks set to recover at a quicker pace than supply growth. Against this backdrop, investors are happy to keep buying the dips in crude oil," Razaqzada said.

However, the mood was less decisive on Wall Street, where only the Dow among major indices eked out a gain as traders became wary that a recent string of equity rallies may have reached its end.

CFRA Research's Sam Stovall said in a note that strategists worry "equities are priced to perfection" following a series of market records in anticipation of the just-begun earnings season.

On Wednesday, leading banks reported blowout profits after they unlocked funds set aside for bad loans.

Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve reported business activity had increased to "a moderate pace" in recent weeks, though it warned of supply chains snarls that pushed prices up.

The Nasdaq fell the most with a 1.0 percent loss, where attention was dominated by the debut of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, which advanced 31.3 percent from its reference price amid strong investor interest in bitcoin.

However, Coinbase shares finished at $328.28, well below the session peak of $429.54.

Bitcoin hit an all-time high of $64,870 ahead of the launch, marking continued frenzy around the virtual currency despite concerns about a bubble.

Across the Atlantic, London and Paris were up while Frankfurt fell as Europe enters its own earnings season, with UK supermarket giant Tesco announcing a surge in profits.

The pound, euro and yen all gained against the dollar after a string of strong US inflation readings, the latest of which was the consumer price index for March released on Tuesday, which showed it rising 2.6 percent year-on-year.