Global stocks mixed on oil outlook, central banks watch

MANILA, Philippines – Global stocks were mixed Wednesday as an overnight surge in oil prices raised questions about the outlook for the energy sector. Investors are watching for the outcome of policy meetings by the U.S. Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan.

KEEPING SCORE: Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.3 per cent at 6,268.63 in early trading. Germany’s DAX gained 0.1 per cent to 10,267.21. France’s CAC 40 also edged 0.1 per cent higher, to 4,538.12. U.S. futures indicated a lower opening on Wall Street, with the Dow and S&P futures both down 0.3 per cent.

APPLE DECLINE: Apple says quarterly revenue fell for the first time in more than a decade, as iPhone sales fell compared with a year ago. That’s putting more pressure on the world’s most valuable public company to come up with its next big product. Apple sold more than 51.2 million iPhones in the first three months of 2016 — while racking up $10.5 billion in quarterly profit. That was more than many analysts expected, but still fewer than the 61 million iPhones sold a year earlier.

OIL PRICES: Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 82 cents to $44.88 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained $1.40, or 3.3 per cent, to $44.04 a barrel on Tuesday, its highest close since early November. Brent crude, the international standard, added 98 cents to $46.72.

THE QUOTE: “The concern is that at $45 (a barrel) a significant amount of oil plays become profitable again and we still have not seen a big enough decline in oil output to bring about the appropriate supply and demand rebalancing,” said Angus Nicholson of IG. “Everyone in the market is concerned that we could see a repeat of 2015, where after a dramatic price decline, prices began to rise again and prompted a huge influx of oversupply and an even more severe sell-off.”

ASIA’S DAY; Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 closed 0.4 per cent to 17,290.49. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2 per cent to 21,361.60. The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.4 per cent to 2,953.67. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 shed early gains, slipping 0.6 per cent to 5,250.90. South Korea’s KOSPI edged 0.2 per cent lower to 2,015.40. Southeast Asian markets were mixed.

CURRENCIES: The euro rose to $1.1303 from $1.1297 on Tuesday. The dollar fell to 111.28 yen from 111.32 yen.