Canada’s main stock index rose on Wednesday, lifted by energy stocks as oil prices gained on signs of improving demand due to countries easing lockdown restrictions worldwide and a fall in U.S. crude inventories.
At 11:35 a.m. ET, the Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was up 154.79 points, or 1.04%, at 15,040.27.
The energy sector climbed 5.2% as oil prices jumped more than 4% on Wednesday on signs of improving demand and a drawdown in U.S. crude inventories. Gains were capped by worries over the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic and weak refining margins.
Brent crude futures were up $1.38, or 3.98%, at $36.03 per barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) July crude futures were up $1.38, or 4.32%, at $33.34 a barrel. Both benchmarks rose more than 5% during the session.
The WTI June contract expired on Tuesday at $32.50 a barrel, up 2.1%, avoiding the chaos of last month’s May expiry, when prices sank well below zero, as storage across the U.S. filled rapidly.
U.S. crude inventories fell by 5 million barrels in the week to May 15 to 526.5 million barrels, Energy Information Administration data showed, compared with analysts’ expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1.2 million-barrel rise.
In Toronto, the financials sector gained 1.6%, while the industrials sector rose 2.2%.
The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, slipped 0.5%.
Wall Street’s main indexes surged and the Nasdaq hit its highest level in three months on Wednesday as investors clung to hopes of a recovery from a coronavirus-fueled slump amid signs of more stimulus for ailing sectors.
The tech-heavy index, now about 5% below its all-time high hit in February, was boosted by Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc, which were trading at record levels, as well as Apple Inc.
The S&P 500 was about 12% below its all-time peak and the Dow Jones index was short by 17%.
“It relates to the reopening of the economy… some states are further along than others, but it’s giving a little bit of confidence to the markets,” said Robert Pavlik, senior portfolio manager at Slatestone Wealth Llc in New York.
“If we can break through the 3,000 level (on the S&P 500) with some conviction, that’s going to be a positive sign, and it’s probably going to draw more money off the sidelines.”
The three indexes have rallied more than 30% from March lows on unprecedented stimulus, but gains have been capped this month as traders digest mixed headlines on progress in developing a coronavirus vaccine.
Moderna Inc’s Chief Executive Officer said a best-case scenario would see them filing for an approval for their potential COVID-19 vaccine by end 2020 or early 2021, days after announcing promising data from a very small early-stage trial.
Meanwhile, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell have said the government and the central bank were considering more steps to ensure the worst-hit areas of the economy received adequate support.
All eyes are now on the minutes from the Fed’s latest policy meeting expected at 2 p.m. ET.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 381.54 points, or 1.58%, at 24,588.40, the S&P 500 was up 50.62 points, or 1.73%, at 2,973.56. The Nasdaq Composite was up 181.84 points, or 1.98%, at 9,366.95.
Gains were broad-based with the cyclical sectors including industrials, energy and materials posting their biggest percentage gains on hopes of a pick-up in demand.
Home improvement chain Lowe’s Cos Inc rose 0.5% after posting higher quarterly same-store sales.
Analog Devices Inc gained 8.4% after the chipmaker forecast third-quarter profit ahead of expectations.
Target Corp slipped 1.7% after the big box retailer reported a 64% plunge in quarterly profit, pummeled by costs to tackle the coronavirus outbreak.
Edited BY Harry Miller
OPEC+ agrees to extend output cuts as cheats offer penance – BNNBloomberg.ca
OPEC+ agreed to a one-month extension of its record output cuts and adopted more stringent methods to ensure members don’t break their production pledges.
The deal is a victory for Saudi Arabia and Russia, who spent a week cajoling Iraq, Nigeria and other laggards to fulfill their obligations. It’s a particular vindication for the kingdom’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who has consistently pushed fellow members to stop cheating on their quotas since his appointment last year.
With the cartel’s video conference now under way, delegates said all nations have agreed to the new deal. The group will maintain its production cut of 9.7 million barrels a day to the end of July, instead of easing it to 7.7 million after this month as planned.
In addition, the meeting’s draft communique states that any member that doesn’t implement 100 per cent of its production cuts in May and June will make extra reductions from July to September to compensate for their failings.
Oil has just posted a sixth weekly gain in London, more than doubling to US$42.30 a barrel since April as traders anticipate tighter supplies as demand recovers from the coronavirus lockdowns. U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday hailed the cuts from the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies for saving the American energy industry.
“Despite the progress achieved to date, we cannot afford to rest on our laurels,” Mohamed Arkab, Algeria’s energy minister and current OPEC president, said at the start of the meeting. “The challenge that we face remains daunting.”
The group hopes to build on its success by pushing the market into a supply deficit next month, using a price structure called backwardation to start to chip away at the billion barrels of oil stockpiles that built up during the pandemic.
The cartel will meet again in the second half of June for another review of the oil market. Talks are scheduled on June 18 for the Joint Ministerial Monitoring Committee, which could recommend a further extension if it’s deemed necessary, pushing the deep production cuts into August, a delegate said. The panel will meet every month until December, according to the draft communique.
Cutting production is always painful for oil-dependent states. Iraq in particular needs every penny because it’s still rebuilding its economy following decades of war, sanctions and Islamist insurgency.
Iraq made less than half of its assigned cutbacks last month, so compensating fully would require it to slash production by a further 24 per cent to about 3.28 million barrels a day, according to Bloomberg calculations. Accepting such terms could risk a backlash from Iraqi parliamentarians and rival political parties for bowing to foreign pressure.
The traditional shirkers in OPEC+ have promised many times before to do better. Some analysts were skeptical that this occasion will be any different.
“Everyone saves face with this agreement,” Jan Stuart, global energy economist at Cornerstone Macro LLC, said on Friday after a tentative deal was in place. “But it begs the question: What is the enforcement mechanism? I’m very curious to see how the organization is going to elicit greater compliance from the cheaters.”
There’s also a risk that future OPEC+ curbs could be undermined by a return of Libyan oil. The civil war there halted more than 1 million barrels a day of production, helping OPEC+ rebalance the market, but a cease fire now opens the door for a gradual recovery of supply.
For now at least, members of OPEC+ can enjoy the price gains resulting from their deal. The recovery has eased pressure on the budgets of oil-rich nations, while also reviving the fortunes of energy companies from Exxon Mobil Corp. to shale drillers such as Parsley Energy Inc.
“The oil market is on its way to recovery. Supply has shifted dramatically already,” said Ann-Louise Hittle, oil analyst at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd. “At the same time, global demand is recovering with both May and June climbing from the low seen in April as the coronavirus-related shutdowns continue to ease.”
–With assistance from Julian Lee and Khalid Al-Ansary.
B.C. has lost more than 353,000 jobs since pandemic began – CBC.ca
B.C. Finance Minister Carole James said more than 353,000 jobs have been lost provincewide since the pandemic began, with more than 30 per cent of those losses affecting young people.
James said Friday the province’s youth unemployment rates reached roughly 28.7 per cent last month. The minister said young people have been “severely impacted” during the pandemic because they work in the industries hardest hit by the economic slowdown: accommodation, food service, wholesale and retail.
“Those sectors still continue to lead all other industries in job losses, making up 46 per cent of the total jobs lost,” James said Friday.
“We have to remember that those numbers are families. They’re individuals. They’re small businesses who have struggled and continue to struggle as we move into recovery.”
Around 115,000 of the 353,000 positions lost in B.C. in recent months were jobs held by young people.
Statistics Canada said Friday unemployment rate in B.C. rose 1.9 percentage points to 13.4 per cent, up from 11.5 per cent in April.
B.C. did gain 43,300 jobs back in May, James said. The provincial government began easing public health restrictions last month, leading businesses to reopen and more people into the job hunt.
“I think we see some glimmers of hope … when you see the number of jobs that actually were created. It doesn’t touch the loss of jobs, the huge number of loss of jobs over this time period, but I think it does show that you’re starting to see some confidence in the economy,” said James.
“In the coming months, we hope to see more positive results as our economic recovery starts to take shape.
James noted more than 521,000 people have applied for B.C.’s Emergency Benefit for Workers since applications opened on May 1. The benefit provides a one-time payment of $1,000 for residents whose work has been impacted by the pandemic.
Statistics Canada said the national unemployment rate in May rose to 13.7 per cent, the highest level in more than 40 years of comparable data. The previous record of 13.1 per cent was set in December 1982.
The agency said Canada’s economy added 290,000 jobs in May, replacing about 10 per cent of the jobs it lost to COVID-19.
The monthly labour force survey showed that men gained back more jobs than women last month, resulting in a wider gender gap in employment losses as a result of COVID-19, and that the pandemic continued to disproportionately affect lower-wage workers.
OPEC and allies reportedly agree to extend record production cut – CNBC
An OPEC sign hangs outside the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna, Austria, on Nov. 29, 2017.
Akos Stiller | Bloomberg | Getty Images
OPEC and its oil-producing allies reportedly agreed to extend the historic 9.7 million barrels per day production cut that was set to expire at the end of June, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
The cut will be extended through the end of July, and the group is expected to confirm the agreement at its meeting on Saturday, which kicked off a little before 8:30 a.m. ET.
The closely watched meeting was initially scheduled for June 9-10, but was pulled forward after Iraq agreed to comply with its quota.
On Friday West Texas Intermediate jumped 5.72% to settle at $39.55, while international benchmark Brent crude gained 5.78% to settle at $42.30. It was each contract’s sixth straight week of gains, and the highest settle since March 6.
“OPEC+ looks set to formally announce a one-month deal extension at [Saturday’s] ministerial meeting,” said Helima Croft, RBC’s global head of commodities strategy. “Nevertheless, there could be some last minute theatrics at the virtual gathering and we suspect that some individual producer performance will still be less than perfect on a go-forward basis.”
Under the current agreement, which was set during an extraordinary multi-day meeting in April, the 23-member group cut production by 9.7 million bpd beginning May 1 and through the end of June. The cuts would then begin to taper. From July through the end of 2020, 7.7 million bpd would be taken offline, followed by 5.8 million bpd from January 2021 through April 2022.
The cut — the largest in history — came as oil demand fell off a cliff due to the coronavirus pandemic. The International Energy Agency estimates that about one quarter of demand was sapped in April as billions of people around the world stayed home in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19. The hit to demand came as producers continued to pump oil, which sent WTI tumbling into negative territory for the first time on record, while Brent fell to a 20-year low.
Since then, prices have steadily climbed higher as economies begin to reopen and as producers further rein in output. In the U.S., production has fallen from a record 13.1 million bpd in March to 11.2 million bpd, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. WTI is still about 40% below its January high of $65.65, however.
“Although small in scale, this cut is however important in squaring the group’s strategy, which has this year alone swung from price focused cuts, to market-share recapture, to internal price war to finally a record large cut,” Goldman Sachs’ Damien Courvalin wrote in a note to clients Friday.
– CNBC’s Brian Sullivan and Michael Bloom contributed reporting.
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