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Premarket: Stocks jump on virus slowdown hopes, but oil slips on oversupply – The Globe and Mail



World stock markets jumped on Monday, encouraged by a slowdown in coronavirus-related deaths and new cases, though a delay in talks between Saudi Arabia and Russia to cut supply sent oil tumbling again.

Equity investors were encouraged as the death toll from the virus slowed across major European nations including France and Italy.

London’s FTSE raced up 2%, indexes in Paris and Milan rose 3% and Germany’s DAX gained more than 4% after Japan’s Nikkei finished with similar gains overnight.

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There was plenty of news to demonstrate just how brutal the virus has been: eye-popping plunges in car sales and air travel in Europe, Britain’s prime minister being hospitalised , and Japan preparing to declare a state of emergency. But the markets appeared hopeful.

Wall Street S&P 500 emini futures were up almost 4%, close to their upper limit too, buoyed by comments from U.S. President Donald Trump that his country was also seeing a “levelling off” of the crisis.

“What is driving the market is the evidence that the number of new cases has started to turn the corner,” said Rabobank’s Head of Macro Strategy Elwin de Groot.

As well as a slowdown in deaths in Italy, he said, improvements were starting to become visible in Spain and even in the United States there had been a little bit of a let-up.

“When you see that happening you can start gauging when lockdowns can start to be gradually lifted. That gives a little bit more visibility and that is vital,” he added, although he stressed there were still huge uncertainties and risks.

As has been the pattern for most of the year, commodity markets saw the day’s other big moves.

Brent crude fell as much as $4 after Saudi Arabia and Russia, who have been at loggerheads this year over production, pushed back the planned start of a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a group known as OPEC+, until Thursday.

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OPEC+ is working on a deal to cut oil production by about 10% of world supply, or 10 million barrels per day (bpd), in what member states expect to be an unprecedented global effort.

The countries are “very, very close” to a deal on cuts, one of Russia’s top oil negotiators, Kirill Dmitriev, who heads the nation’s wealth fund, told CNBC.

But Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen said even if the group agreed to cut up to 15 million bpd, “it will only be enough to scratch the surface of the more than 23 million bpd supply overhang predicted for April 2020.”


In currency markets, the yen fell 0.6% to 109.14 against the dollar and weakened against other major currencies as Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government would declare a state of emergency as early as Tuesday to curb a spike in coronavirus infections.

The dollar barely budged against the euro but the pound recovered having dipped 0.4% after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital for tests as he was still suffering symptoms of the coronavirus.

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Yields on safe-haven German government bonds crept higher in fixed income markets too, reflecting the slightly brighter tone in world markets despite some painful data.

Investor morale in the euro zone fell to an all-time low in April and the currency bloc’s economy is now in deep recession due to the coronavirus, which is “holding the world economy in a stranglehold”, a Sentix survey showed.

Orders for German-made goods had already dropped 1.4% in February, German data showed. British car sales slumped 40% last month and Norweigen Air’s traffic plummeted 60%.

“Never before has the assessment of the current situation collapsed so sharply in all regions of the world within one month,” Sentix managing director Patrick Hussy said.

“The situation is … much worse than in 2009,” Hussy said. “Economic forecasts to date underestimate the shrinking process. The recession will go much deeper and longer.”


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In Asia, stocks had also proven bullish. Australia’s benchmark index rose 4.33%, Japan’s Nikkei added 4.24% after a slow start, while South Korea’s KOSPI index climbed 3.85%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 2.18% higher.

That sent MSCI’s broadest index of Asian shares outside of Japan up 2%, on track for its best performance in more than a week.

Markets in mainland China were closed for a public holiday.

Worryingly, the number of new coronavirus cases jumped in China on Sunday, while the number of asymptomatic cases surged too as Beijing continued to struggle to extinguish the outbreak despite drastic containment efforts.

“Focus in markets will now turn to the path out of lockdown and to what extent containment measures can be lifted without risking a second wave of infections,” National Australia Bank analyst Tapas Strickland wrote in a note.

“Key to a strong rebound in China will be the ongoing lifting of containment measures, with Wuhan – the epicentre of the outbreak – set to lift containment measures on April 8.”

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History Suggests Record 50-Day Stock Market Rally May Be Just The Beginning – Benzinga



The S&P 500 has gained a record 39.6% since it hit its 2020 low back on March 23. Not only has that rally erased much of the year’s COVID-19-related losses, it’s also the best 50-day stretch in the history of the market.

After such a strong rally, traders are understandably getting uneasy the market is overbought and due for a pullback. However, from a purely historical perspective, the strongest 50-day periods have generally led to even more gains over the year that follows, according to LPL Financial Senior Market Strategist Ryan Detrick.

A Closer Look

On Thursday, Detrick looked at the seven other times since the S&P 500 was constructed in 1957 that the index has gained at least 20% over a 50-day period. In all seven instances, the index gained at least another 5.2% in the year that followed.

“Big 50-day rallies in the past have taken place near the start of new bull markets, and the returns going out a year were quite bullish,” Detrick wrote.

What’s Next?

LPL found that the S&P 500 averaged a 1.1% gain over the month following the best 50-day stretches. The S&P 500 has averaged a 6.2% gain over three months, a 9.1% gain over six months and a 19.4% gain over the year following these exceptional 50-day stretches.

Detrick said traders are right to be concerned about the durability of the rally in the near-term given potential red flags in the put-to-call ratios among option traders. However, history suggests the next six months to a year could be very kind to investors overall.

Benizinga’s Take

It’s difficult to step in and chase the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) today after the market has had its best 50 days in history. However, LPL’s research suggests long-term investors with dry powder should consider scooping up S&P 500 stocks on any near-term pullbacks.

Do you agree with this take? Email with your thoughts.

Related Links:

5 Reasons The Value Stock Rally May Run Out Of Steam

What The Yield Curve Is Saying About The Stock Market Rally

© 2020 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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Bombardier to lay off nearly 200 regional rail workers in GTA –



Bombardier Inc. says it will temporarily lay off 196 employees working on regional transit services in the Greater Toronto Area due to a steep decline in ridership numbers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company said in an email the job cuts, effective June 21, amount to about 20 per cent of its workforce at GO Transit and the Union Pearson Express.

Both rail services are owned by the Metrolinx transit agency, which contracts out operations to Bombardier.

Bombardier says ridership has dropped by 90 per cent due to the impact of the pandemic, prompting a reduction in service levels.

Commuting has plummeted as confinement measures shuttered businesses, triggered layoffs and prompted work-from-home policies.

Air passenger numbers have also plunged, with international traveller volumes falling 98 per cent year over year at Canadian airports last week, according to the Canada Border Services Agency.

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Did Iraq Just Doom The OPEC Deal? | –



Did Iraq Just Doom The OPEC Deal? |

Julianne Geiger

Julianne Geiger is a veteran editor, writer and researcher for, and a member of the Creative Professionals Networking Group.

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    OPEC is in negotiations with its members to find the best way forward, but talks appear to have stalled over one laggard, Iraq, which has failed to live up to its agreement under the cartel’s production cut deal. Does this give OPEC cover for meeting delays and overall noncompliance, or is it a sincere effort to get it onboard?

    Whether Iraq can be brought in line and fully comply with its share of the OPEC deal is certainly doubtful. Yet interestingly enough, OPEC and Russia have staked the extension of the dealy past June, when the current level of cuts expire and cuts begin to ease, entirely on whether all laggard members bring production down to agreed-upon levels. 

    Either OPEC and Russia are certain they can get Iraq to bring its production down to its quota, or they are content to have the cartel’s production above normal. 

    Russia and Saudi Arabia both agreed that the current level of production cuts should be extended at least one more month. The caveat? That all other countries implement their established quotas in full. 

    That’s a pretty big ask, and if history repeats itself, it’s impossible. What this means for oil prices is that there would be no extension, inventories won’t draw down as quickly, and oil prices will remain depressed along with demand for crude–which although it is picking back up thanks to lockdowns being lifted, is still about 20 million barrel per day under what it was before the pandemic. 

    Iraq isn’t the only laggard, to be fair. Nigeria, Angola, and Kazakhstan are also not keeping up their end of the bargain. The cartel went to work trying to get the three, and Iraq, to recommit to the cuts, and with the exception of Iraq, all three gave the requisite assurances.  Related: Are Investors Ignoring The Largest Financial Risk Ever?

    Of course, that doesn’t mean they will necessarily do so, but it’s at least a start. 

    Iraq, however, has not committed to bringing its production down to the quota in June. 

    OPEC’s compliance for May is thought to be about 89%. This isn’t terrible considering the volume of how much is being cut. Still, compliant Saudi Arabia is declaring its unwillingness to continue its share of the cuts for another month unless the laggards get their act together. Laggards that include Iraq, whose compliance reached only about 42% in May.

    OPEC won’t even have the meeting this week unless Iraq agrees to improve its compliance. 

    Is it all just a ploy to manage market expectations in the run up to the meeting to ensure that whatever agreement is hatched is looked upon favorably, therefore maximizing the price impact? Is it a strategy to get out of extending the deal, perhaps as discussed with U.S. President Donald Trump? Is it designed to put maximum pressure on Iraq to comply? 

    Chances are, we’ll never know. But one thing is for certain: Iraq will not comply with the deal–period. 

    In fact, it said as much. Iraq said it would fully implement cuts by the end of July-in their promise-to-fulfill-later kind of way that they have done in the past. 

    Iraq the Laggard

    For the most part, when it comes to chronic noncompliance, we are talking about the usual suspects of Iraq and Nigeria. But Iraq is so much bigger. 

    Both countries have unique challenges when it comes to sticking to any production cut deal that OPEC or OPEC+ could ever hatch. For Iraq, it is their reliance on international oil companies, most of which operate in the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region. So on one hand, Iraq doesn’t want to bite the hand that feeds it–big foreign oil companies–and on the other, Iraq has a tough time trying to regulate what goes on in the Kurdistan region. This is not even to mention the rocky political climate in Iraq. Related: Can Yemen’s Oil Industry Make A Comeback?

    For Nigeria, it’s the fact that it has a strong reliance on its oil revenues. Most OPEC nations rely on oil revenue for a substantial part of the revenue. But for Nigeria, shutting down oil production and forgoing the revenue associated with that oil production is tough.  Yet Nigeria has agreed, although its May compliance was still not up to snuff.

    OPEC’s Other Problem

    Is OPEC really worried about the extra barrels Iraq is pumping? After all, Saudi Arabia has overachieved its own quota for well over a year while the laggards basked in their overproduction. Most signs point to legitimate worry. Saudi Arabia has declined to publish its July OSP for July until after the meeting. The Kingdom is also raising its customs duties on hundreds of products to generate more non-oil revenue. In a similar vein, it’s tripling its VAT and suspending its cost of living allowances. These are worrisome signs.

    What’s most concerning in the market, however, is the notion that the OPEC deal could fall apart entirely. 

    The previous deal catastrophe is all too fresh in our minds after Russia and Saudi Arabia–the two heavyweights in the deal–failed to reach an agreement over the cuts. The deal failure triggered a price war between the two, plunging the world into a glut of oil and sending prices spiraling as demand fell in the wake of the pandemic. 

    By Julianne Geiger for

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