Tech titans keep markets on track ahead of OPEC, Fed

August 19, 2020: Global stock markets marked time Wednesday against a backdrop of recent massive gains, growing China-US tensions, fresh virus flare-ups and signs of a possible breakthrough in deadlocked US stimulus talks, dealers said.

With the coronavirus having dealt repeated blows to the global economy over the past half year, it was the tech titans who led gainers on an upbeat Wall Street, suggesting they continue to be major beneficiaries from the health crisis that just will not go away.

Wednesday saw Apple became the first US company to reach $2 trillion in market value — it hit the $1 trillion mark in early 2018 and the iPhone maker was up 1.1 percent at $467.60 three hours into Wall Street trading to boast a 60 percent rise so far in 2020.

Fellow technology big-hitters also rose, Google parent Alphabet adding 0.5 percent and Microsoft 0.1 percent, although fellow $1 trillion market value traveller Amazon was off 0.4 percent even as more broadly the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq indices soared to record highs.

Oil was in focus ahead of US stockpiles data and a virtual meeting of OPEC and its allies to discuss their recent output cuts after crude prices were shattered by a coronavirus-driven plunge in energy demand.

The dollar, which Tuesday hit the lowest level against the euro in more than two years on the prospect of more huge US stimulus, was little changed as the market waited on the Federal Reserve's minutes from its latest policy meeting.

“As for the oil market, traders are a bit cautious today because of the US crude inventory data” amid a supply glut, noted Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avatrade.

“Traders are also keeping an eye on the OPEC+ gathering.”

Craig Erlam, senior market analyst with OANDA Europe, saw European indices producing a “decent return,” albeit “we don't quite have the momentum that indices on the other side of the Atlantic are enjoying, with the S&P and Nasdaq back in record territory,” he said.

“The prospect of a relief deal between Republican's and Democrats won't be doing that any harm, with the Fed minutes of interest later in the day,” he added.

AFP/APP

Posted on: 2020-08-19T22:40:00+05:00

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