Oil prices slide, stocks diverge

oil prices slide, stocks diverge

NEW YORK, United States — Oil prices fell further Wednesday on receding worries about a bigger Israel-Iran conflict, while global stocks varied following a stream of mixed earnings.

The top two global oil contracts fell more than 3 percent, with analysts highlighting that crude supplies had not been affected after the firing of missiles and drones at the weekend by crude-rich Iran.

Analysts also cited easing worries about a widening conflict.

Edoardo Campanella, an energy economist at UniCredit Bank, predicted a gradual easing of crude prices.

“Given the diplomatic pressure by Western powers, investors expect Israel to adopt a restrained response against Iran,” Campanella said. “We continue to expect tensions in the Middle East to remain mostly limited to the Gaza Strip, with limited regional fallout.”

In Asia, Tokyo stocks slumped for a second session running as the yen remained under pressure near 34-year lows.

European equities rebounded strongly for much of the session but gave up part of the gains as Wall Street stocks turned lower.

Paris led the way, climbing 0.6 percent.

European equities rebound

“The French index has been given a boost by the luxury sector, including Hermes and LVMH, after steady results eased market fears about a slowdown in sales at LVMH,” said Kathleen Brooks, research director at XTB.

LVMH, the world’s top luxury group, said late Wednesday sales slipped 2 percent in the first quarter from the strong performance during the same period last year, and said Chinese sales were recovering.

“Its results were not as weak as feared and they could act as a catalyst for a recovery in this sector after LVMH shares fell five percent in the past month,” added Brooks.

London won 0.4 percent, helped by another drop in UK inflation. Analysts expect the Bank of England to start cutting interest rates later this year, though the exact timing is unclear with prices growing more than expected.

But US stocks fell again despite early gains, extending a weak stretch ahead of earnings from tech giants and influential industrial companies.

With hopes ebbing for a significant easing of US monetary policy in 2024 and angst over conflict in the Middle East, stocks have been under pressure in recent sessions.

“The only thing that is going to pull the market higher is earnings,” said Spartan Capital’s Peter Cardillo, pointing to a wave of results from big companies starting later this week with Netflix.

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