US Stocks Break Correlation With Oil

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The close tie that has played out recently between movements in crude oil prices and U.S. stocks appeared to be weakening in Monday’s action. While crude oil prices fell 1.4% to $39.78 a barrel in Monday’s trading, U.S. stocks were largely up with all the major stock indices posting gains.

The failed attempt by major oil producers meeting in Qatar over the weekend to try to curb oil output triggered a global-wide decline in crude prices. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, oil prices declined 1.4% to $39.78 a barrel, but quickly recovered. Brent crude fell 0.4% to $42.91 a barrel.

U.S. stocks steadier

But the fallout in the oil market and the corresponding iPath S&P GSCI Crude Oil Total Return (NYSEARCA:OIL) had little impact on U.S. shares with the Dow hitting a multi-month high. Oil prices and U.S. shares have tended to move in the same direction together during oil’s decline and Monday’s action signals what traders interpreted as a favorable shift.

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It appears favorable U.S. labor data for March boosted investor confidence in stocks. According to the U.S. Labor Department, employers created 215,000 jobs in March. All domestically focused sectors posted strong job growth during the month. With that, traders seemed to bet that the U.S. economy will be less affected by fallout in the global markets.

Dow reaches highest level since July

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (INDEXDJX:.DJI) added 106.70 points to close above 18000. Monday marked the first time the blue-chip index crossed the 18000 mark since July 2015. The Dow has gained 3.3% in 2016 and has risen 15% above its 2016 low reached on February 11.

S&P 500 performance

The S&P 500 (INDEXSP:.INX) added 13.61 points to edge up 0.65% to close at 2094.34. Futures are up again in the premarket this morning. Nevertheless, the energy sector is expected to be a drag on S&P 500. As such, analysts predict that earnings for S&P 500 companies will fell 8.5% compared to a similar period a year ago.

The Nasdaq Composite (INDEXNASDAQ:.IXIC) added 21.8 points to close at 4960.02.

Appetite for safe haven

Gold and government bonds also gained, a sign that investors were not fully sold on the rebound in stocks. The yield on the 10-year government bond ticked up 1.773% as bond prices fell. Gold gained $0.50 to $1,233.60 an ounce. The yellow metal is up 16% in 2016.

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