Investing.com - Here are the top five things you need to know in financial markets on Thursday, April 19:
1. Metals surge on sanction worries
Nickel was on a tear on Thursday, soaring 4%, on fears that U.S. sanctions on major Russian aluminum producer Rusal may be broadened and could hit key Russian nickel supplier Nornickel.
Worries over over tighter global supply for a commodity already in deficit have seen nickel jump 20% just this week, while aluminum, also up around 2% on Thursday, has racked up gains of more than 30% so far this month.
2. Oil hits 3½-year high ahead of OPEC meeting
Amid the broad surge in commodities seen Thursday, oil prices also hit their highest level since late 2014 while traders looked ahead to the outcome of the joint Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and non-OPEC ministerial monitoring committee meeting slated for later this week.
The committee may discuss new inventory targets that extend their output cuts beyond this year as they aim to eliminate a glut.
The gathering will play out against a backdrop of falling stockpiles and geopolitical tensions that have lifted prices.
U.S. crude oil futures rose 0.82% to $69.03 at 5:52AM ET (9:52GMT), while Brent oil gained 0.87% to $74.12.
3. Jobless Claims, Philly Fed Data, Fed Jawboning Looms
The Labor Department releases its weekly count of the number of individuals who filed for unemployment insurance for the week ended April 13, expected to show jobless claims fell to 230,000 from 233,000 the prior week. Continuing claims are forecast to fall to 1.848 million from 1.871 million the prior week.
The report on the labor market is due Thursday at 8:30AM ET, a day after the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book showed that tightness in the labor market has yet to boost wage growth pressure.
Also released at the same time, economists forecast the Philly Fed manufacturing index for April to show a reading of 20.8, slightly below the 22.3 reading seen in March.
Furthermore, traders will pay close attention to appearances by Fed governor Lael Brainard at 8:00AM ET (12:00GMT), fellow Fed governor Randal Quarles at 9:30AM ET (13:30GMT)and Cleveland Fed president Loretta Mester at 6:45PM ET (22:45GMT)
The Fed speeches are likely to be closely monitored after St. Louis Fed chief James Bullard warned that the yield curve could invert– a key predictor of a recession - within six months.
Traders are currently pricing in around a 95% chance of a rate hike in June, according to Investing.com’s Fed Rate Monitor Tool. Odds of a third rate hike by December was seen at about 85%.
4. Earnings will continue to be in focus
Earnings will continue to move stock prices on Thursday with Wall Street set to trade good news as all six S&P 500 firms reporting after the prior session’s close beat estimates.
Of particular note, American Express (NYSE:AXP) looked set for solid gains after the blue chip credit card issuer’s profit topped consensus as record investments in card rewards and a strengthening U.S. economy contributed to higher customer spending.
First quarter earnings season is running smoothly with 83% of the 58 S&P companies that have reported beat both profit and sales estimates, according to The Earnings Scout.
On Thursday’s docket, Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG), Bank of New York Mellon(NYSE:BK) (NYSE:BK), BB&T (NYSE:BBT), Blackstone (NYSE:BX) and Philip Morris (NYSE:PM) are among firms reported earnings.
5. Stocks set for weak open ahead of earnings, data
U.S. futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Thursday as investors waited for earnings and economic data to give direction for the day’s trade. At 5:54AM ET (9:54GMT), the blue-chip Dow futures was unchanged, S&P 500 futures slipped 3 points, or 0.09%, while the Nasdaq 100 futures edged down 3 points, or 0.04%.
Elsewhere, European shares were running out of steam following a two-day rally with most of the major bourses showing little change. A notable exception was the FTSE 100 trading up 0.2% as the commodity rally pushed up shares in mining giants and oil producers.
Earlier, Asian equities ended higher on the back of bullish sentiment in resource stocks.