Global Economy Dollar strength hurts stocks, oil bounces off lows

The dollar rose for a fifth day, adding 0.07 percent to 96.116 against a basket of major currencies.

  • Published:
United States one dollar bills are seen on a light table at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington in this November 14, 2014, file photo. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/Files play United States one dollar bills are seen on a light table at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington in this November 14, 2014, file photo. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/Files
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

Global equity markets declined on Thursday and the dollar added to a recent string of gains after another U.S. Federal Reserve official talked of higher U.S. interest rates before long.

The dollar rose for a fifth day, adding 0.07 percent to 96.116 against a basket of major currencies. The streak is the longest for the dollar in nearly a year and puts the greenback on track for its first weekly rise in a month.

The gains were further supported by remarks of St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, who joined a chorus of officials who have recently highlighted the chance of at least two rate increases this year, with the first perhaps as soon as April.

The dollar's strength weighed on oil prices, although they partly rebounded from session lows after a drop in the U.S. oil rig count eased some concerns stemming from recent data showing record high U.S. stockpiles.

"You have to somehow break out of the cycle, when you are so dependent on everything the Fed does or everything a central banker says. That kind of locks up the market," said Joe Saluzzi, co-manager of trading at Themis Trading in Chatham, New Jersey.

"It is really frustrating we are stuck with these guys, and every time they say something the market reacts."

The rally in crude prices to above $40 a barrel had been a big factor in stock market advances in recent weeks, helping the benchmark S&P 500 rise more than 12 percent from a Feb. 11 low.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 13.35 points, or 0.08 percent, to 17,515.94, the S&P 500 dropped 0.74 points, or 0.04 percent, to 2,035.97 and the Nasdaq Composite added 4.64 points, or 0.1 percent, to 4,773.51.

Volume across markets was light, with many closing on Friday ahead of the Easter holiday.

U.S. crude settled down 0.83 percent at $39.46 a barrel, recovering from a session low of $38.33 after sliding 4 percent on Wednesday. Brent settled down slightly, off 0.07 percent at $40.44, after an earlier drop to $39.22.

The oil pullback has pressured U.S. and European equities this week, with the pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index and S&P 500 suffering their worst drop in six weeks.

MSCI's index of world shares, down 0.57 percent on the session, was off 1.4 percent for the week.

The stronger dollar and softer oil prices were reflected in data on U.S. durable goods orders, which showed a drop in February, while weekly jobless claims continued to point to a solid labor market.

Gold slipped 0.2 percent to $1,217.30 an ounce, after hitting its lowest since late February at $1,212.20, and was down 3 percent for the week, its worst performance since November.

Copper, down nearly 2 percent for the week, was off 0.09 percent at $4,945.15 a tonne.

Benchmark U.S. 10-year notes were last down 7/32 in price to yield 1.9 percent, up from 1.875 percent on Wednesday.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Nigeria?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +2349055172167, Social Media @pulsenigeria247: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.ng. More information here.