Stocks dip, oil hits 2-year high after Saudi arrests
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Global stocks mostly fell on Monday and the price of oil hit a two-year high after a spate of high-profile arrests in Saudi Arabia unnerved some investors and suggested the kingdom could be more bullish in pursuing output cuts.
KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 inched down 0.1 percent to 7,552 while France’s CAC 40 shed 0.3 percent to 5,504. Germany’s DAX also dipped by 0.3 percent, to 13,444. Futures augured a tepid start on Wall Street. Dow futures added 0.1 percent while S&P futures dipped almost 0.1 percent.
OIL RISES: The price of the benchmark U.S. crude contract rose 25 cents to $55.89 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose as far as $56.28, its highest level since July 2015, and extended gains from last week. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 42 cents to $62.49 per barrel.
SAUDI ARRESTS: One of the drivers for oil has been the news that the Saudi heir to the throne oversaw the arrest of dozens of the country’s most powerful princes, military officers, businessmen and government officials. Because the crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has been bullish about reining in oil production, some analysts see it as positive for prices overall. General uncertainty about what it could mean for the stability of the country is helping to push prices up as well.
ANALYST TAKE: “Fundamental oil market data are currently being overshadowed by news relating to Saudi Arabia,” said analysts at German financial firm Commerzbank. In a note to investors they said that the news of the arrests have increased the risk of destabilization in Saudi Arabia.
TRUMP IN TOKYO: Trump is on his first presidential visit to Asia this week, with Japan as his first stop. In remarks to business leaders in Japan’s capital, Trump emphasized that the U.S. has massive trade deficits with Japan and that he hopes to turn that around. He also said his decision to pull the U.S. out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal will prove “to be right.” Trump is to visit South Korea, China, Vietnam and the Philippines in coming days. While denuclearizing North Korea is likely to top his agenda during the visits, trade and business issues will also be discussed.
ASIA’S DAY: Japan’s Nikkei 225 finished flat at 22,548.35, while South Korea’s Kospi dropped 0.3 percent to 2,549.41. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was nearly unchanged at 28,596.80, while the Shanghai Composite Index added 0.5 percent to 3,388.17. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dipped 0.1 percent to 5,953.80. Stocks in Southeast Asia were mixed.
CURRENCIES: The U.S. dollar was stable at 114.02 yen while the euro slipped to $1.1598 from $1.1609.