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Stocks and Crude Oil Add to Last Week’s Gains

US Stocks extended last week’s rally while Treasuries sold off marginally across the curve as higher commodity prices boosted appetite for risk.  WTI crude traded up over 7% after the International Energy Agency said it expects US shale output to fall and data showed a drop in US rig counts.  Crude prices remain at extremely depressed levels, but they have certainly bounced off the lows in recent days as traders weigh the potential benefit of a proposed output freeze led by Russia and Saudi Arabia.  According to Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak, the oil-producing countries involved in the discussion agreed to conclude talks by the beginning of March.

The British pound experienced its largest one-day drop since 2009, falling over 2% against the US dollar, on news that London Mayor Boris Johnson will campaign for Britain to exit the Euro when a national referendum is held in June.  Johnson’s stance puts him in direct conflict with Prime Minister David Cameron, who intends to push to keep Britain in the EU.  Talks of a potential “Brexit” will likely heat up as the referendum date approaches and heightened currency volatility is expected to continue during this period.

All three major US stock indexes are currently trading up over 1%, while Treasury and swap yields are 1-2 bps higher across the curve, after being as much as 3-4 bps higher earlier in the morning.  US data is light today, but the calendar picks up later this week, featuring a variety of economic reports on the state of housing and the consumer sector.  NY Fed’s EVP Potter is scheduled to speak this afternoon.

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