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Be Watchful for Stock Market & Petroleum Product Oscillations
By Mark O’Brien
The prevailing downward bias in stock indexes
has plenty of justification: a 1.4 million single-day case spike in infections last week, market expectations for up to four interest rate hikes this year, less-than-robust readings for last week’s initial jobless claims and retail sales, potential Russian military action against Ukraine, surging energy prices (crude oil
traded up to a 7-year high yesterday).
Yet, there are supportive elements capable of counteracting the equity index sell-off of recent days: traders may look at this latest correction as sufficient to compensate for future Fed. policy actions, rate hike fears will tend to moderate with softening economic data. The latest Omicron developments continue to be encouraging. New Covid-19 cases are plummeting in a growing list of places. Since early last week, new cases in Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey and New York have fallen by more than 30 percent. They’re down by more than 10 percent in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. In California, cases may have peaked. Acknowledging the tensions between Washington and Moscow, U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken will meet with his Russian counterpart on Friday and promised “relentless diplomatic efforts to prevent renewed aggression and to promote dialogue and peace.”
Crude oil traders
should expect the recent price increase to be met with increased volatility as political tensions involving major producers such as the United Arab Emirates and aforementioned Russia could exacerbate the already tight supply outlook. Blow-off tops should not be downplayed.
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