MARCH 29th: BNP Paribas Securities Services has won a mandate to provide Italian banking group Banco di Desio e della Brianza with global custody services for €11bn worth of Italian and foreign assets - Axioma, provider of enterprise market risk and portfolio management solutions, has appointed Jacqueline Gaillard as managing director, People & Talent. Gaillard was previously senior vice president, Human Resources and Talent Management at International Securities Exchange (ISE) – There looks to have been an overnight recovery in investor sentiment in the Asian session, linked to Donald Trump’s revoking of several laws introduced by the Obama administration safeguarding workers’ rights and protections for the environment perhaps? Anyway, it seems that investors believe that the US president will deliver on his policy pledges; or better, are buoyed by positive macroeconomic data out of the US and Europe. Analysts Mike van Dulken & Henry Croft at Accendo Markets commented to clients this morning: “However, this time they want it to be growth-focused (tax reform, infrastructure spending, banking deregulation) rather than just wanting to give two fingers to Democrats by repealing Obamacare.” Whatever, the upshot is that by and large stock markets recovered early Tuesday, with higher oil prices and a rebound in the US dollar against the yen driving gains in Australia and Japan. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +1.30% added 1.1%, trading close to levels last seen on March 17. The benchmark Nikkei index NIK, +1.14% gained 1.1%, recouping most of its Monday losses. FTSE Bursa Malaysia added 0.54% to 1754,42 and the Hang Seng rose 0.63% to 23,345.87. However, elsewhere market performance was mixed. The Straits Times Index (STI) ended 16.02 points or 0.51% lower to 3126.88, taking the year-to-date performance to +8.54%. The top active stocks today were Singtel, which declined 0.77%, DBS, which declined 0.48%, Global Logistic, which declined 1.43%, OCBC Bank, which closed unchanged and UOB, with a 0.09% fall. The FTSE ST Mid Cap Index declined 0.36%, while the FTSE ST Small Cap Index declined 0.34%. The Shanghai Composite also took a beating, down 0.43% to 3252.99. The price for Brent LCOK7, +0.95%, the international crude oil benchmark, rose 16 cents to $50.91 a barrel in Asian trade, offsetting overnight declines, which helped drive gains – Accendo Markets reports the FTSE 100 Index called to open flat +30pts at 7325, after rebounding back above 7300 thanks to a bullish double-bottom from yesterday’s 7260 2-week lows. This revives hopes in a recovery towards last week’s 7360 highs, if not the prior week’s 7440 record. “However, the recent sell-off and breached support have left hurdles along the way. Bulls need a break above 7325 overnight highs; Bears want a breach of 7310.” Even so, US equity markets continued their sell-off on the back of a disappointing performance from the US administration, with the Dow Jones now in its longest losing streak since 2011. Nasdaq, however, continues its outperformance, closing higher once again, while the Dow, having pared early losses, remained hindered by energy and financial weakness while Telecoms were the biggest drag on the S&P 500.Crude Oil benchmarks have failed to break out of tight trading ranges as conflicting reports of OPEC production cut extension talks and rising US production are leaving prices in a state of flux. Brent Crude remains in a $50-51 sideways trading channel while its US counterpart remains in a $47-48 falling channel. Investor focus will be on this evening's API inventory data for this week’s first gauge of US production following Friday’s 10th consecutive Baker Hughes Rig Count increase. Today’s macro calendar is light, with major releases not coming until the US session this afternoon. These come in the form of US House Prices, expected to show continuing growth in the monthly reading while holding steady in the annual figure. US Consumer Confidence, forecast to cool slightly from February’s reading of 114.8. Market attention will, however, likely be on this evening’s raft of Fed speakers following the European close with the likes of George “U.S. Economy and Monetary Policy”; 5.45pm), Chair Yellen (Addressing Workforce Development Challenges in Low-Income Communities; 5.50pm), Kaplan (moderated discussion at the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations; 6pm) and Powell (America's Central Bank: This History and Structure of the Federal Reserve; 9.30pm) -
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