Markets Right Now: Dow at another record as oil price soars

Markets Right Now: Dow at another record as oil price soars

Asian stocks rose to three-week highs on Wednesday, supported by gains on Wall Street and growing expectations the dollar may be peaking after a hefty rally since the USA election pulled funds out of emerging markets.

USA private employers stepped up hiring in November and consumer spending increased last month, the latest signs of economic strength that could further cement the case for an interest rate hike.

KEEPING SCORE: The Dow rose 76 points, or 0.4 percent, to 19,197 as of noon Eastern time. The Standard & Poor's 500 index rose 2.94 points, or 0.1 percent, to 2,204.66 and the Nasdaq composite rose 11.11 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,379.92.

November is set to be Wall Street's best month since March, with the markets rallying on Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential election. E-mini futures on the S&P 500 added 0.1 percent after the underlying index climbed 0.1 percent on Tuesday. At a meeting in Vienna, ministers from OPEC nations seemed to focus less on whether there would be a cut and more on how it would be shared among members. Preliminary terms of the deal were announced in September. If the cartel can agree on a cut, it will be its first since 2008. Russia, another major oil-producing country that is not part of OPEC, also agreed to cut its output.

The price of USA crude surged $3.70, or 8.2 percent, to $48.93 a barrel in NY, about where it as in late October.

The January crude contract was up $3.24 at US$48.47 per barrel and January natural gas was up three cents at US$3.35 per mmBTU.

Crude dropped nearly 4 per cent Tuesday as investors felt a deal was becoming less likely. Exxon Mobil picked up $2.07, or 2.4 per cent, to $87.96 and Chevron rose $3.03, or 3 per cent, to $112.36.

But Asian investors were a little more subdued and Tokyo ended flat, while Hong Kong came off earlier highs to sit up 0.3 percent in the afternoon.

Among energy stocks, Marathon Oil jumped 22 percent and oil rig operator Transocean rose 16 percent. Steven Mnuchin, Trump's proposed nominee for Treasury secretary, said the administration wants to make changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law because it makes it harder for banks to lend. The law was passed to prevent another financial crisis, but critics say it went too far and stopped banks from making loans that people and businesses need to spend and hire. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.3 percent and New Zealand's S&P/NZX 50 Index added 0.1 percent.

BLUE CHIPS CASH IN: The gains were concentrated among a small number big-name companies. On the New York Stock Exchange, more stocks were falling than rising.

The S&P 500 posted 62 new 52-week highs and 3 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 167 new highs and 39 new lows.

BONDS: Bond prices fell.

Treasury yields have edged lower after peaking at 2.42 per cent on the ten-year benchmark bond last Friday.

Meanwhile, gold XAU= was on track for its biggest monthly decline since mid-2013, largely pressured by the bets of a series of USA interest rate hikes over the next year as US growth seemed to accelerating.

High-dividend stocks slumped. Investors who want income tend to buy those stocks when bond yields are low and then sell them again when bond yields rise.

Utilities, real estate investment trusts and phone companies took the largest losses on the market.

It has meant an electrifying run for the dollar, which was up at 1.0645 per euro EUR= and 113.04 yen JPY= by 1020 GMT (5:20 am ET) as it headed for its strongest month against the Japanese currency in seven years.