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Stocks, oil plunge as fears of virus-linked recession rise – Aljazeera.com

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Asian shares slid on Monday as more countries all but shut down in the fight against the coronavirus, threatening to overwhelm policymakers’ frantic efforts to cushion what is clear to be a deep global recession.

United States stock futures lead the tumble at the start of trading, hitting limit down after a US economic aid package was stalled in Senate.

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In a taste of the pain to come, E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dived 5 percent to hit limit down after losing more than 4 percent on Friday.

Shares in New Zealand plunged more than 10 percent after Prime Minister Jacinda Arden said the country was preparing to go into self isolation, with all non-essential services to be shut over the next 48 hours.

The commodity-heavy Australian market lost as much as 8 percent before recovering some losses to trade down 5.7 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 2 percent, with South Korea badly hit.

Japan’s Nikkei added 0.8 percent, perhaps aided by expectations of more asset buying by the Bank of Japan.

Oil prices tanked, falling towards their lowest levels in 17 years after prospects for a deal between The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the US to limit oil production appeared to fade and mass bans on travel worldwide crushed demand for fuel.

Airlines cancelled more flights as Australia and New Zealand advised against non-essential domestic travel, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) halted flights for two weeks and Singapore and Taiwan banned foreign transit passengers.

Brent crude futures slid $1.68 to $25.30 a barrel, while US crude shed $1.01 to $21.62.

Analysts fear the collapse in oil and other commodity prices will set off a deflationary wave making it harder for monetary policy easing to gain traction as economies shut down.

Nearly one in three Americans were ordered to stay home on Sunday to slow the spread of the disease, while Italy banned internal travel as deaths there reached 5,476.

Trump went on TV to approve disaster deceleration requests from New York and Washington, while St Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard warned unemployment could reach 30 percent unless more was done fiscally.

In the Senate, Democrats blocked a significant aid package as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the measure fell short of her goals.

US stocks have already fallen more than 30 percent from their mid-February and even the safest areas of the bond market experiencing liquidity stress as distressed funds are forced to sell good assets to cover positions gone bad.

Waiting for a cure

“It would be a brave, or foolish, man to call the bottom in equities without a dramatic medical breakthrough,” said Alan Ruskin, head of G10 FX strategy at Deutsche Bank.

Also needed would be evidence that China could re-emerge from the virus without reigniting infections, and that other large economies had hit inflection points for infection rates, he added.

“Even were social distancing to subside at the earliest plausible dates in Europe and the US, it will have done extraordinary damage to confidence in a host of key sectors,” Ruskin said.

The mounting economic toll led to a large rally in sovereign bonds late last week, with efforts by central banks to restore liquidity in the market allowing for more two-way trade.

Yields on the benchmark US 10-year note were down at 0.80 percent, having dived all the way to 0.84 percent on Friday from a top of 1.28 percent.

In New Zealand, the central bank announced its first outright purchase of government paper aiming to inject much-needed liquidity into the local market.

In currency markets, the first instinct on Monday was to dump those leveraged to global growth and commodity prices, sending the Australian dollar down 0.8 percent to $0.5749.

The US dollar started firm but took a step back after partisan battles in the US Senate stopped a coronavirus response bill from advancing. It eased 0.4 percent to 110.43 yen, while the euro recouped losses to be unchanged at $1.0692.

The US dollar was a large gainer last week as investors fled to the liquidity of the world’s reserve currency, while some funds, companies and countries sought more cash to cover their dollar borrowings.

“The ‘dash for cash’ will remain a key driver of currency markets this week,” said Kim Mundy, a currency strategist at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia or CBA.

“We expect strong USD demand to continue to cause liquidity problems and keep volatility elevated. Direct intervention by central banks in currency markets to reduce market dysfunction is possible.”

The steady rise in the US dollar undermined gold, which slipped 0.3 percent to $1,493.83 per ounce.

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Oil's rally hinges on what happens at next OPEC+ meeting – BNNBloomberg.ca

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Oil closed at the highest level since early March, buoyed by optimism that OPEC+ will rebalance the market. But the rally could turn on what happens at the alliance’s June meeting.

The producer group reached a preliminary agreement Wednesday to extend historic output curbs for an extra month, with Saudi Arabia and Russia drawing a hard line on cheating, and insisting that countries make up for past non-compliance by deepening future cuts. Their stance injects some uncertainty into the market, which has rallied from historic lows but remains vulnerable to ongoing demand weakness and a persistent supply glut.

In the U.S., the outlook for fuel consumption dimmed after U.S. government data showed that diesel demand fell to a 21-year low last week while inventories rose to the highest level since 2010. Gasoline supplies also swelled, suggesting consumption isn’t rebounding as quickly as initially thought. The builds in fuel stockpiles offset a larger-than-expected decline in crude inventories.

Futures in New York fluctuated between gains and losses amid the conflicting market signals. While West Texas Intermediate crude ended the session one per cent higher, prices declined after the close.

“We’re in wait-and-see mode,” said Michael Lynch, president of Strategic Energy & Economic Research Inc. The question now is not whether OPEC+ will extend cuts but by how much, he said. “If they extend until the end of the year, that will encourage optimism on the part of buyers.”

Russia and Saudi Arabia, the de-facto leaders of OPEC+, are putting pressure on Iraq, Nigeria, Kazakhstan and Angola to make firm commitments they will improve compliance, and also to make up for past wrongs. The OPEC+ leaders are demanding the four countries compensate for non-compliance in May — and potentially in June — by cutting extra in July, August and September, according to the people familiar with the situation. That’s a painful prospect for those producers, already struggling with the budget impact of low prices.

The ultimatum comes as higher prices have already spurred some U.S. producers to bring wells back online. EOG Resources Inc., America’s largest shale-focused producer, and Permian producer Parsley Energy Inc. both said they’re preparing to ramp up output just weeks after turning off the taps.

Prices:
• U.S. West Texas Intermediate rose 48 cents US to settle at US$37.29 a barrel in New York.
• Brent rose 22 cents US to US$39.79 a barrel in London. The global benchmark crude had earlier topped US$40 for the first time since March.

The OPEC+ leaders expect to hold a meeting on June 10, according to people familiar with the matter. But negotiations continue with the aim of simply ratifying the accord at the virtual gathering, according to the people.

–With assistance from Olivia Raimonde, Grant Smith, Javier Blas and Evgenia Pismennaya.

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Dow Notches Third-Straight Win as Bets on Faster Economic Recovery Continue – Investing.com

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© Reuters.

By Yasin Ebrahim 

Investing.com – The Dow climbed for the third-straight session as hopes of a faster economic recovery were given a boost on Wednesday amid signs the Covid-19 pandemic’s grip on the economy has passed.

The rose 2.05%, or 527 points, the gained 1.36%, while the added 0.78%.

With just days to go until Friday’s crucial nonfarm payrolls report, ADP (NASDAQ:) said that private payrolls fell by 2.76 million jobs in May, confounding economists’ for a drop of 9 million.

That marked a significant improvement from the 19.5 million job cuts seen in April, raising hopes the labor market losses have bottomed.

The services sector, which accounts for about two-thirds of overall economic growth, is also showing signs of life, with activity rising from the lowest level in 11 years in April.

 data for May showed a reading of 45.4, above forecasts for a reading of 44.

The duo of upbeat economic reports stoked investor hopes of a quicker economic rebound, underpinning cyclical sectors like financials and industrials.  

Financials jumped 4.4%, with banks leading the charge. JPMorgan (NYSE:NYSE:) was up 5.4%, Bank of America (NYSE:NYSE:) up 4.5% and Citigroup (NYSE:NYSE:) up 4.9%.

In industrials, Boeing (NYSE:) rallied 13% after reaching a compensation package and a new delivery deal with travel company TUI Group over the grounding of its 737 Max planes.

On the earnings front, Zoom Video Communications (NASDAQ:) jumped 6% after reporting first-quarter results that markedly beat expectations on the bottom and top lines as the pandemic spurred demand for its videoconferencing software.

Canada Goose (NYSE:) rose 18% after reporting a better-than-expected fiscal fourth-quarter profit. The outerwear retailer also said it would increase focus on direct-to-consumer sales in the early stages of the reopening phase.

Elsewhere, Warner Music (NASDAQ:) made a bright start to life as a publicly-traded company, rallying 21%. The music label company had priced its offering of 77 million shares at $25 per share.

Disclaimer: Fusion Media would like to remind you that the data contained in this website is not necessarily real-time nor accurate. All CFDs (stocks, indexes, futures) and Forex prices are not provided by exchanges but rather by market makers, and so prices may not be accurate and may differ from the actual market price, meaning prices are indicative and not appropriate for trading purposes. Therefore Fusion Media doesn`t bear any responsibility for any trading losses you might incur as a result of using this data.

Fusion Media or anyone involved with Fusion Media will not accept any liability for loss or damage as a result of reliance on the information including data, quotes, charts and buy/sell signals contained within this website. Please be fully informed regarding the risks and costs associated with trading the financial markets, it is one of the riskiest investment forms possible.

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2 Stocks to Buy and Hold Forever – The Motley Fool Canada

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For part-time investors, it can be difficult to stay on top of your portfolio holdings. This is especially true during times of significant volatility. It is why investors should choose which stocks to buy carefully. 

If you don’t have the time to actively monitor your positions, owning over 50 stocks may not be the right approach. If you are holding a large portfolio in an effort to diversify, you may be over extending yourself. 

The purpose of diversification is to reduce unsystematic risk. Research has shown that the benefits of diversification tops out at around 30 positions. The diversification benefits only inch up marginally for every position added afterwards. 

Keeping all this in mind, what is the best approach for the part-time retail investors? Identify stocks to buy that can be held forever. These are best-in-class, blue chip stocks that will act as foundational stocks in a portfolio. 

Railway stocks to buy

The railway industry is dominated by two players, Canadian Pacific Rail (TSX:CP)(NYSE:CP) and Canadian National Railway (TSX:CNR)(NYSE:CNI). They form a duopoly and as such, have some of the widest moats in the country. 

Although both make excellent investments, the top stock to buy today is CN Rail. The railway is trading at 4.47  times book value, a steep discount to peer CP Rail (6.73). CN Rail’s debt burden is also much less, with a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.79. For its part, CP Rail’s D/E ratio is sitting at 1.28.

Similarly, CN Rail is a Canadian Dividend Aristocrat. It has a dividend growth streak that spans 24 years, the tenth longest in the country. At 1.94%, the yield is also double that of CP Rail (0.94%). Over the past decade, CN Rail has averaged 15.6% annual dividend growth. 

Looking forward, analysts are expecting a down year in 2020 – not surprising given the current pandemic. Still, the company is only expected to see earnings dip by about 8% before rebounding in a big way (+17%) in 2021.

CN Rail is one of the safest stocks to buy. You can buy without having to check up on the company daily to see if the investment thesis has changed. 

A top bank

In today’s environment, financial stocks are under pressure. Not even Canada’s Big Banks are immune, and most are sitting on significant losses. However, recent results are proving once again that Canada’s banks are resilient and are top stocks to buy — perhaps none more so than Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY)(NYSE:RY)

As Canada’s largest bank, it has the means to come out on the other side of this pandemic on solid footing. Just as it did during the Financial Crisis, it appears that RBC will escape the current pandemic with a dividend cut. 

Now yielding 4.84%, investors can lock in a yield close to record highs. During this pandemic, Royal Bank has been the best-performing bank. Despite losing 13.06% of its value, it is far outpacing the majority of its peers. 

Despite bouncing off March lows, Royal Bank is still trading at only 1.6 times book value and 11.44 times earnings. Both of which are below historical averages. 

RBC is proving once again to be a top stock to buy and is one of the best hold forever options for investors. Unless the entire economy and banking system goes belly up, investors can sleep well knowing Royal Bank is anchoring their portfolios with stable and reliable returns.

If you are looking for other top stocks to buy today, check out the attractive investment opportunities.

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Fool contributor Mat Litalien owns shares of Canadian National Railway. David Gardner owns shares of Canadian National Railway. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Canadian National Railway. The Motley Fool recommends Canadian National Railway.

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