Stocks and U.S. futures were steady Tuesday and Treasuries weakened as traders weighed a jump in crude oil prices after a breakdown in OPEC+ supply talks. A gauge of the dollar dipped.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index was little changed as gains in energy shares offset a decline in carmakers. The U.K.’s exporter-heavy FTSE 100 Index edged lower as the pound rose on the country’s plans to lift social distancing rules this month. Contracts on U.S. gauges were steady. In Asia, Japanese stocks made modest gains while those in Hong Kong slipped.
Oil jumped after a fight between OPEC+ members Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates blocked an oil-supply increase. Investors are assessing the potential for the conflict to escalate to a price war that could hamper the global economic recovery and add to inflationary pressures. That in turn may strengthen the case for the Federal Reserve to start tapering its stimulus.
The risk of oil at $100 a barrel “is so correlated with short-run inflation that it will make the market very, very edgy, and we know that the Federal Reserve is both watching the economic data but also markets,” Alan Higgins, chief investment officer at Coutts & Co., said on Bloomberg Television.
Minutes due Wednesday from the Fed’s latest meeting may provide further context on the central bank’s hawkish pivot last month.
Elsewhere, Australian bond yields rose as the central bank announced a slower pace of asset purchases, while reiterating that interest rates are unlikely to rise before 2024. New Zealand’s currency outperformed major peers on speculation that an interest-rate hike could come this year.