Oil Jumps, Yields Too, Inflation on Tap, and Facebook Goes Blockchain

It’s An Oilbath Out There!

US President Donald Trump scrapped the Iran nuclear deal yesterday, and oil prices jumped nearly 3% on the news. WTI crude (NYSEARCA:USO) is now $71 a barrel, almost tripling since hitting bottom a little over 2 years ago in February 2016 at around $26 a barrel. Curiously, no private sector companies were consulted before the announcement, according to a senior official at the US State Department. Almost all other Western countries have disagreed with Trump’s withdrawal from the agreement and Asian countries are looking for ways to preserve existing deals for Iranian oil to supply their refineries. Meanwhile, in the wake of renewed US sanctions against Iran, tensions have ratcheted up on the Israel/Syrian border with the Israeli Air Force hitting the Syrian capital of Damascus overnight.

10 Year Yields Cross 3% Again

In what may be a secondary response to the end of the Iran nuclear deal, 10-year yields (^TNX) have risen above 3% once again. 2-year yields have also risen above the 2.5% threshold. 30-year yields (^TYX) are within 9 basis points of 4-year highs, though the dollar index (NYSEARCA:UUP) has already given up its gains, sliding back down to 93 from 93.37 highs hit in the wee hours of Wednesday morning.

Producer Prices Expected to Rise at 3% Annual Rate

The Producer Price Index is set to be published by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics at 8:30am EST. The prior month over month change was 0.3%, which is the consensus estimate for this month as well. The year over year change is expected at 3%, and less food and energy at 2.7%. This should provide a good prelude to the Consumer Price Index number set for release tomorrow and give us a better idea of where we are on the inflation scales.

Vodafone Buys Liberty Global Operations in Four Countries

Vodafone Group (NASDAQ:VOD), the British cable conglomerate, just acquired Liberty Global (NASDAQ:LBTYA) operations in Germany, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania. Shares are up 1% in the premarket, and Liberty Global shares are up 4.15%. Vodafone stock has been languishing for decades, and never quite recovered from the dot com crash at the turn of the millennium. Executives are hoping that the £16.1B will help jumpstart the stock price.

Facebook is Diving Into Blockchain

Thought it’s unclear what this means at this point, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) is creating a group dedicated to exploring ways it can implement blockchain technology across its array of products. What exactly Facebook might do with blockchain or how exactly it will be employed on the social network is anyone guess, and this does not mean that Facebook will be accepting bitcoin as payment for advertising. What it does mean is that the technology backing bitcoin is becoming more accepted on a larger scale.

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