S&P 500 futures rise

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WallStreet1234 Reuters. A Wall Street sign is pictured outside the New York Stock Exchange in New York.

London - Standard & Poor’s 500 Index futures rose, putting the gauge on course for its fifth quarterly advance, as Treasuries fell and the yen weakened.

European stocks pared gains, while Turkey’s lira and Russia’s ruble led emerging-market currencies higher.

S&P 500 futures climbed 0.4 percent at 6:18 a.m. in New York.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index added 0.1 percent and the MSCI All-Country Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.8 percent.

Treasuries extended their first monthly loss this year and Japan’s currency slipped versus all 16 of its major counterparts.

The lira strengthened to an almost three-month high against the dollar after the ruling party gained support in local elections.

The ruble added 1.1 percent. Nickel jumped 0.8 percent.

Russia and the US agree on the need for a diplomatic solution to tensions over Ukraine, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said yesterday.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks in Chicago today as investors await payrolls data due later this week to assess the outlook for interest rates.

The S&P 500 is headed for its fifth quarterly gain, the seventh time this happened since its creation in 1957, and European shares are poised for their third quarterly advance.

“Employment reports are the most important driver for the interest-rate expectations in the US at the moment, so investors will eagerly be awaiting the data this week,” said Christian Zogg, who manages about $540 million as head of equity and fixed income at LLB Asset Management AG in Vaduz, Liechtenstein.

“Our base scenario is that the economy continuously recovers, with the US at the front and Europe a bit slower. With the Crimea crisis in the background, markets find support.”

Three shares advanced for every two that declined in the Stoxx 600, with trading volume 21 percent higher than the 30-day average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The gauge slipped 1 percent this month amid tension between the West and Russia over Ukraine, trimming gains this year to 1.8 percent.

 

Clinical Trials

 

Novartis AG advanced 3 percent today after the Swiss drugmaker said the last phase of a clinical trial showed a treatment for chronic heart failure helped patients live longer.

Drillisch AG added 2.6 percent after a report that the provider of phone services may pay a special dividend or buy back shares.

The S&P 500 is down 0.1 percent this month, paring this quarter’s increase to 0.5 percent.

Separate reports this week may show that manufacturing in the world’s largest economy expanded further this month, while factory orders probably rebounded in February, according to economists’ forecasts in Bloomberg News surveys.

The MSCI Emerging Markets Index added 0.4 percent, gaining for a seventh day, its longest winning streak since July, and paring the decline in the first three months to 1.4 percent.

The lira jumped 1.3 percent to 2.1623 against the dollar, the strongest since January 13, and stocks gained for a second day.

 

Chasing ‘Traitors’

 

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said a win in local polls hands him a mandate to chase “traitors” within the state who are behind months of graft allegations.

His Justice and Development Party or AKP won 45 percent of the national vote yesterday, according to partial and unofficial results reported by NTV television with 87 percent of ballots counted.

That was up from 39 percent at the last election in 2009.

Russia’s Micex Index gained 0.6 percent.

The gauge has lost 10 percent this year, headed for the worst quarter since September 2011 and the biggest drop among global equity markets, as the West imposed sanctions on the country after President Vladimir Putin took control of Ukraine’s Crimea region.

Ukraine’s dollar April 2023 dollar bond gained for a 10th day, sending the yield down six basis points to 8.74 percent, the lowest level in more than two-months.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Russia must pull forces back from Ukraine’s border as both sides seek a diplomatic solution, while Lavrov urged the government in Kiev consider devolving power to give Ukraine’s regions more autonomy.

The two top diplomats met yesterday in Paris.

 

Thai Elections

 

Thailand’s baht headed for its first quarterly gain in a year and stocks gained for a second day.

Voters went to the polls yesterday to select half of the nation’s Senate, without facing opposition from protesters who derailed a general election on February 2 and have vowed to disrupt any future vote.

The S&P GSCI gauge of 24 commodities fell, narrowing this quarter’s gain to 2.8 percent.

Nickel rallied 14 percent this quarter, the most in three years, after shipments were blocked by Indonesia, the world’s largest miner of the commodity used to make stainless steel.

China, the world’s biggest metals consumer, has five months of nickel-ore supply, according to a Bloomberg survey.

 

Natural Gas

 

U.K. natural gas, the European Union’s benchmark contract, dropped to 51.05 pence a therm, the lowest since August 2011.

The high in London on April 2 will be 20.2 degrees Celsius (68.4 degrees Fahrenheit) versus a 10-year average of 15 degrees, according to CustomWeather Inc.

Average U.K. temperatures the same day will be 11.5 degrees versus the seasonal norm of 8.1 degrees, according to WSI Corp. data using the GFS model.

Gold climbed 7.7 percent this quarter to $1,294.78 an ounce and West Texas Intermediate oil advanced 3.2 percent to $101.56 a barrel. Both are the biggest gains since the third quarter.

Yields on 10-year Treasuries rose two basis points, or 0.02 percentage point, to 2.74 percent, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader prices, up from 2.65 percent at the end of February.

Treasuries have fallen 0.3 percent in March, based on the Bloomberg US Treasury Bond Index, set for the first monthly decline since December.

They are up 1.7 percent for the first quarter, having gained earlier in the year as winter weather curbed growth.

Greek bonds returned 23 percent, the best performance among 34 sovereign debt markets tracked by Bloomberg World Bond Indexes. Portugal are the next-best earners, gaining 12 percent.

 

Dollar Gains

 

The dollar rose 0.2 percent to 103.05 yen, the strongest level since March 12.

It has fallen 2.1 percent against its Japanese counterpart this year.

The euro advanced 0.4 percent to 141.92 yen, paring its drop for the quarter to 2 percent.

The euro traded at $1.3767.

New Zealand’s dollar strengthened 5.4 percent versus the greenback this year, while its Canadian counterpart fell 4 percent -- the best and worst performances among the most-traded currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

The cost of insuring corporate bonds against losses fell, with the Markit iTraxx Europe index of credit-default swaps on 125 investment-grade companies decreasing 0.8 basis point to 76 basis points, the lowest since March 19.

The gauge is poised for its first quarterly increase since the first three months of 2013. - Bloomberg News



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