New York (AFP) –
Oil prices closed at three and a half year peaks Monday ahead of a US announcement on Iran policy as global equity markets pushed higher.
Speculation that US President Donald Trump would exit the Iran nuclear deal pushed US oil prices to their first close above $70 a barrel since November 2014. Oil prices in Europe also ended at a three-and-a-half year peak.
British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was the latest European official to travel to Washington to urge the Trump administration to preserve the 2015 pact in which major powers agreed to ease some sanctions on Iran in exchange for greater scrutiny of its nuclear activities.
US President Donald Trump tweeted that he would announce his decision Tuesday, before US markets close.
“The market is worried that President Trump will not certify that Iran is compliant and as a result, that may reduce the amount of Iranian exports at a time when oil inventories are declining,” said Andy Lipow of Lipow Oil Associates.
US equities had a solid day, with the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index leading the major stock indices after Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger effused in a broadcast interview over tech giants Apple, Amazon and Google, lifting shares of all three companies.
Europe’s biggest stock market, London, was shut for a bank holiday Monday, sapping volumes elsewhere on the continent.
Frankfurt and Paris posted gains, with analysts pointing to positive momentum from Friday’s Wall Street session, when a mixed US jobs report was seen as reducing the likelihood that the Federal Reserve will accelerate interest rate hikes.
Earlier, most Asian markets had closed higher — with Shanghai a standout — while Tokyo ended marginally lower as traders returned following an extended holiday weekend.
The dollar continued to advance against the euro and most other currencies, a trend that reflects data “pointing to the US economy growing at a steady pace while Europe and elsewhere slow,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions.
– Air France nosedives –
In Paris, shares in Air France-KLM went into free fall, losing 9.8 percent, after the strike-hit company’s CEO resigned and the government seemed concerned about the carrier’s chances of survival.
Air France-KLM boss Jean-Marc Janaillac announced his resignation Friday after staff at the carrier’s French operations rejected a pay deal aimed at ending months of walkouts.
Switching to a “sell” recommendation from a previous “buy”, Societe Generale said the staff vote “not only puts the cost efficiency targets at risk in our view, but even the integrity of the group.”
Nestle shares climbed 1.6 percent in Zurich after the Swiss food giant said it will pay $7.15 billion in cash for the rights to market Starbucks products around the world, outside of the company’s coffee shops.
The agreement gives Nestle, which owns the Nescafe and Nespresso brands, a strong platform for continued growth in North America, it said.
Starbucks, which said it would use the proceeds to accelerate share buybacks, dipped 0.4 percent.
– Key figures around 2100 GMT –
New York – Dow: UP 0.4 percent at 24,357.32 (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 0.4 percent at 2,672.63 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.8 percent at 7,265.21 (close)
London – FTSE 100: Closed for a public holiday
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 1.0 percent at 12.948.14 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.3 percent at 5,531.42 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 3,566.03 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: FLAT at 22,467.16 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.2 percent at 29,994.26 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.5 percent at 3,136.64 (close)
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1922 from $1.1960 at 2100 GMT on Friday
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3556 from $1.3531
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.07 yen from 109.12
Oil – West Texas Intermediate: UP $1.01 at $70.73 per barrel
Oil – Brent North Sea: UP $1.30 at $76.17 per barrel