Stocks and oil up, but US dollar slips amid ongoing geopolitical risk

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks across the globe rose on Monday, helping lift oil prices, but shares on Wall Street ended far from their highs after the FBI raided the offices of President Donald Trump’s long time lawyer.

Cohen has been at the center of a controversy surrounding payment to a porn star who has alleged that she had sex once in 2006 with Trump and was paid money shortly before the 2016 election to keep quiet about it.

The U.S benchmark S&P 500 stock index gave back some of the day’s gains after the news on Cohen and ended up 0.3 percent after rising as much as 1.9 percent during the session.

Global equity markets came under pressure last week as the United States and China threatened each other with tens of billions worth of import tariffs but stocks rallied earlier on Monday on views that the trade spat was cooling off.

Financial markets could be whipsawed again Tuesday though as Chinese President Xi Jinping is scheduled to deliver a speech.

“The speech is fraught with market peril,” said Brian Battle, director of trading at Performance Trust Capital Partners in Chicago. “You make sure you have no position before a speech that important. He could really stir the pot.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 46.34 points, or 0.19 percent, to 23,979.1, the S&P 500 gained 8.69 points, or 0.33 percent, to 2,613.16 and the Nasdaq Composite added 35.23 points, or 0.51 percent, to 6,950.34.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index rose 0.17 percent and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.37 percent.

Emerging market stocks rose 0.09 percent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.84 percent higher, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.51 percent.

The DAX (German stock index) logo is seen at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach


Earlier Russian stock indexes and the rouble both fell sharply after the United States hit Russian companies and officials with new financial sanctions to punish Moscow for a range of activities, including alleged meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

The dollar-denominated RTS stock market index slid 11.4 percent, its largest single-day drop since December 2014, while the rouble was 4.2 percent weaker against the dollar, the biggest such move since January 2015.

The U.S. dollar slipped against a basket of currencies on persistent worries about the U.S.-China trade conflict while the euro rose following comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi that were deemed supportive of the common currency.

The dollar index fell 0.29 percent, with the euro down 0.01 percent to $1.2318.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.01 percent versus the greenback to 106.77 per dollar, while Sterling last traded at $1.4126, down 0.02 percent on the day.

U.S. crude rose 1.98 percent to $63.29 per barrel and Brent was last at $68.55, up 2.15 percent on the day.

“Once again we find the oil market being swept up in broader market sentiment,” said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.

“After Friday’s flight from risk, the positive mood in equities to start the week is encouraging a rebound in oil, with a weakening dollar providing a further shot in the arm.”

Oil traders were also watching for the possibility of a U.S. military response to the reported use of chemical weapons in Syria on Saturday.

The suspected chemical weapons attack late Saturday night killed at least 60 people had been killed and more than 1,000 injured in several sites in Douma, a city near the capital Damascus, according to a Syrian aid organization.

U.S. Treasury debt prices were little changed ahead of another set of large auctions this week. The U.S. Treasury is set to auction $30 billion in U.S. 3-year notes on Tuesday, $21 bln in reopened 10-year notes on Wednesday, and $13 billion in reopened 30-year bonds on Thursday.

The U.S. federal fiscal deficit will balloon over the next few years mainly because of deep tax cuts approved in December by congressional Republicans and President Donald Trump, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said on Monday.

The deficit will grow to $804 billion in fiscal 2018, which ends on Sept. 30, up from $665 billion in fiscal 2017, the CBO said, despite expectations of stronger near-term economic growth than the agency previously forecast.

Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 2/32 in price to yield 2.7808 percent, from 2.775 percent late on Friday.

The 30-year bond last rose 2/32 in price to yield 3.0142 percent, from 3.017 percent late on Friday.

Spot gold added 0.2 percent to $1,335.87 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.26 percent to $1,339.60 an ounce.

Copper rose 1.25 percent to $6,853.50 a tonne.

Reporting by Rodrigo Campos, Stephanie Kelly, Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss, April Joyner, Sinead Carew and Saqib Iqbal Ahmed; Editing by Clive McKeef