Stocking up

Stocks move higher as S&P 500 hits another new high and investors express confidence at the prospect of an upcoming interest rate hike from the Fed. Ian Slattery reports.

Trading room at Zurich Life Investments Ireland

Stocks rallied once again last week, as the S&P 500 broke through the 2,400 mark for the first time, as US investors seem comfortable with the prospect of an upcoming interest rate hike from the Fed. The second estimate of Q1 US GDP data was revised upwards, but remaining economic data was broadly flat in the world's biggest economy.

European economic data remains positive, with German business sentiment surging to a 26 year high and manufacturing and service sector activity remaining at elevated levels. This helped lift the euro against the dollar, as it broke through the $1.12 mark for the first time since October.

OPEC agreed an extension to the current production cut, but disappointed the market, who had expected them to go further. Oil slipped below $50/barrel as a result.

The global index rose 1.2% last week, with the US and Hong Kong leading the way. Gold moved higher once again, and is now up just short of 10% this year.

Copper was slipped further this week by 0.6%, paring the 2017 gain to 2.4%. As mentioned previously oil slipped to below $50/barrel, and appears range bound around this level.

US 10-year yields moved up (yields and price move inversely) to 2.25% from 2.23% a week ago. The equivalent German yield moved higher and finished at 0.33% from 0.37%.

The EUR/USD rate closed at 1.12, up from rate of 1.05 at the end of 2016. The EUR/GBP rate finished the week at 0.87.

The week ahead

Wednesday 31st May: In China the Caixin manufacturing PMI index is forecast to tick down to 50.2 from 50.3, signaling at continued expansion, albeit at a slower rate.

Wednesday 31st May: The first estimate for eurozone unemployment for April is released and is expected to fall to 9.4%, from 9.5%.

Friday 2nd June: Non-farm payrolls data for May is released in the US, where the consensus expects 176,000 jobs to be added (last 211K). The unemployment rate is expected to hold steady at 4.4%.

About: Zurich Investments

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