Sunday, January 3, 2016

"Asia markets in guarded start to 2016, oil jumps on Middle East tension"

February WTI futures: $37.97 up 93 cents (+2.51%)

From Reuters Canada, 7:51 EST:
Asian shares began their first trading of 2016 on a cautious note on Monday while oil prices jumped 3 percent after Saudi Arabia's execution of a prominent Shi'ite Muslim cleric spurred regional anger and geopolitical tensions.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was up 0.1 percent, with resource-heavy Australian shares .AXJO rising 0.6 percent. The MSCI ex-Japan shed nearly 12 percent in 2015.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 fell 1 percent, playing catch-up to falls in U.S. stocks in the last two sessions during Japan's market holidays. The Nikkei gained around 9 percent last year.

U.S. stock futures were up 0.3 percent ESc1, in a knee-jerk reaction to the jump in oil prices, rebounding slightly from a one-week low hit on Dec. 31.

Global oil benchmark Brent futures LCOc1 gained 3.0 percent to $38.40 per barrel, rising as high as $38.46, its highest since early December.

Saudi Arabia executed a prominent Shi'ite Muslim cleric on Saturday. Riyadh cut ties with Iran after protesters stormed the Saudi embassy in Tehran.

In the currency market, the safe-haven Swiss franc was bid up, gaining 0.4 percent against the euro to 1.0849 per euro EURCHF....MORE