A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

U.S. Stocks Edge Higher, Bonds Rise as Oil Slips: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks edged higher as earnings bolstered optimism in the economy before a raft of events that will set the tone on markets in the coming week. The yen touched a six-week low versus the dollar.

The S&P 500 Index’s pursuit of an all-time high took it within four points of the mark, with technology shares leading gains ahead of Apple Inc.’s earnings report after markets close Tuesday. Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. slid after April sales missed estimates. European shares advanced to the highest since August 2011. Treasury yields slipped, giving back gains sparked by a U.S. review of selling ultra-long bonds. The dollar was mixed versus major peers, while crude slipped below $48 a barrel.

U.S. equities turned higher in afternoon trading, though gains were muted as investors may yet be reluctant to commit to any direction ahead of the Federal Reserve’s policy review and Friday’s jobs report in light of weaker-than-expected economic growth in the first quarter. The French election on Sunday is adding to concern, while the deal to avert a U.S. government shutdown fueled uncertainty about the timing for any Trump policy priorities.

“Risk assets are performing well and investors are clearly bullish,” Claudio Piron, strategist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch wrote in a client note. “Nevertheless, we advise caution and this month is especially notorious for its refrain to ‘Sell in May,”’ he added.

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Here are the key events and data releases due this week:

  • Investors will be watching comments from a policy meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee Wednesday.
  • Voters in France go to the polls on Sunday for the second round of presidential elections.
  • Besides Apple Inc., other companies on the agenda for earnings this week include BNP Paribas SA, Facebook Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc, Time Warner Inc., Pfizer Inc., Merck & Co., BMW AG, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Volkswagen AG.

Here are the main moves in markets:
Stocks

  • The S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent to close at 2,391.09 at 4 p.m. in New York, four points short of its March 1 closing record.
  • The Nasdaq Composite and Nasdaq 100 indexes edged to fresh records, while small caps in the Russell 2000 Index retreated.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.6 percent, with BP Plc adding 1.6 percent after profit rose to $1.51 billion, exceeding analysts’ estimate.
  • The Topix index rose 0.7 percent to the highest since March 21 as the yen weakened. Japanese markets will be closed for holidays over the next three days.

Currencies 

  • The yen slid 0.2 percent to 112.032 per dollar, touching the lowest since March 21, following a 0.3 percent slide on Monday.
  • The euro strengthened 0.3 percent to $1.0927, while the British pound was 0.4 percent higher at $1.2937.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.1 percent.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell three basis points to 2.29 percent, reversing a rise of two basis points sparked when Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said issuing longer-dated bonds “is something we’re considering.”
  • Lou Crandall is sticking with his call that the U.S. is about to increase the amount of 30-year bonds it sells as a prelude to adding a new ultra-long maturity.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield rose one basis points to 0.33 percent

Commodities

  • Oil fell to the lowest in more than a month as the U.S. crude glut is seen moving to brimming fuel tanks. The drop intensified after Saudi Arabia signaled it’s faring better than expected with low prices.
  • West Texas Intermediate closed 2.4 percent lower at $47.66.
  • Cattle futures extended a surge to a record and wholesale beef jumped to a 13-month high after a weekend blizzard hammered the Midwest
  • Nickel bulls are in retreat as a mining crackdown that threatened to choke supply from the world’s top shipper is mired in legal and political limbo.

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