Daily Market Color

US Stocks and Oil Trade Near 2016 Highs

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US stocks and oil are advancing once again while Treasurys are rallying marginally as markets continue to react favorably to the waning prospects of a near-term rate hike.  Crude rose for the third consecutive day, remaining above $50 per barrel off the back of supply outages in Nigeria that have reduced output to a 20-year low.  Prices were also boosted by data that showed Chinese oil imports hit their highest level in over six years last month, and the US dollar’s drop to five week lows.  Crude is slightly below its 2016 highs after US stockpiles unexpectedly grew, but the overall upward momentum remains intact. 
In terms of today’s new data releases, the JOLTS job openings report showed the pace of hiring by US employers slowed to near a two-year low in April.  The number of job openings increased, which indicates firms are having a difficult time finding workers to hire.  The JOLTS report is one of Fed Chair Yellen’s favorite measures of labor market health, and the latest metric is certainly underwhelming.  Outside the US, the World Bank slashed its global growth forecast for 2016 from 2.9% to 2.4%.  The World Bank cited “sluggish growth in advanced economies, stubbornly low commodity prices, weak global trade, and diminishing capital flows” as the reasons for the downgrade.  Meanwhile, trade data showed Chinese imports increased 5.1% YoY, ending a run of 16 monthly declines. 

Aside from the data, there was a $20 billion 10-year note auction today, while the Fed remains in the blackout period ahead of next week’s FOMC meeting.  All three major US stock indexes are currently trading up close to 0.25%, while Treasury yields and swap rates are down 1-4 bps across the curve.  Both WTI and Brent crude are up close to 1.5%.


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