Oil up after data, dollar gains as Brexit materializes

Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:00pm EDT
 
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By Rodrigo Campos

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks edged up on Wall Street on Wednesday, not enough to lift a global equities index, while crude futures hit a week high after a smaller-than-expected build in U.S. inventories.

The euro slipped after Reuters reported European Central Bank policymakers are wary of making any new change to their policy message in April.

Weighing on the euro and pound, Prime Minister Theresa May formally began Britain's divorce from the European Union, a decision pitching her country into the unknown. On Tuesday, the Scottish Parliament backed a bid to hold an independence referendum that could break up the UK, adding another layer of uncertainty for investors.

Gains in the energy sector .SPNY, up more than 1 percent, kept the S&P 500 afloat, while none of the other ten sectors moved more than a half a percent up or down.

Wall Street rose on Tuesday, with the Dow snapping an eight-day losing streak after a jump in consumer data boosted hopes in a stronger U.S. economy. On Wednesday, contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes jumped to a 10-month high in February.

"The big talk of the day is (Britain's) official request to leave the EU, which we think is likely to be a counter balance for the markets for many days to come," wrote in a note Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at First Standard Financial in New York.

"We see (U.S.) oil prices moving toward the $50 range as being the markets driving force of the day."

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 67.89 points, or 0.33 percent, to 20,633.61, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 1.65 points, or 0.07 percent, to 2,356.92 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 5.01 points, or 0.09 percent, to 5,880.15.   Continued...

 
Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, United States March 29, 2017.  REUTERS/Brendan McDermid