March 14, 2016 / 12:24 AM / 2 years ago

Crude drops; shares flat with eyes on central banks

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of stocks across the globe ticked up on Monday, with Wall Street buoyed by consumer stocks and Europe up on a positive view of the auto industry.

Oil prices fell as Iran dashed hopes of a coordinated production freeze any time soon, returning the focus to the crude supply glut that has sent prices crashing.

Attention switches this week to policy decisions from the Bank of Japan (BOJ), the U.S. Federal Reserve and the Bank of England, among others. They follow last week’s interest rate cut, asset-purchase program extension and new cheap loans for banks pledge at the European Central Bank.

The Fed, which ends its two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, has said it is on track to raise rates gradually in 2016, but doing so will hinge on the health of the economy. Recent data has shown above-forecast jobs creation but wage growth remains a concern.

“If investors are inclined to make a bet, then they’re better served by waiting a few days,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at BMO Private Bank in Chicago.

The Dow Jones industrial average rose 47.19 points, or 0.27 percent, to 17,260.5, the S&P 500 was nearly unchanged, up 0.08 points to 2,022.27, and the Nasdaq Composite added 8.96 points, or 0.19 percent, to 4,757.42.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 index, which had climbed 2.7 percent on Friday, ended up 0.7 percent. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across major markets ticked up 0.1 percent.

The euro, which rose last week after ECB President Mario Draghi signaled further rate cuts were unlikely, fell 0.6 percent on Monday to $1.1084. The yen was flat against the greenback and sterling fell 0.6 percent to $1.4296. The dollar index rose 0.5 percent.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange shortly after the opening bell in New York, March 14, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

“It seems like the market has sort of stabilized itself in the former trading range we had before Draghi made the market move in such a fashion,” said Fabian Eliasson, vice president for currency sales at Mizuho Corporate Bank in New York.

“I think everything this week is going to be wait-and-see until Wednesday, leading up to the Fed decision,” he said.

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The Russian rouble strengthened briefly against the greenback after Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was instructing his armed forces to start pulling out of Syria, over five months after he ordered the launch of a military operation.

Brent crude oil, whose rise has helped buoy stocks in recent weeks, fell below $40 a barrel, as U.S. crude stockpiles continue to mount and Iran maintained little interest in a global production freeze.

“We feel that the bulk of this stronger than expected 5-6 week price advance has been seen and that prices will be shifting into a near term consolidation phase,” said Jim Ritterbusch of Chicago energy consultancy Ritterbusch & Associates.

Brent last traded at $39.68, down 1.8 percent. U.S. crude fell 3.1 percent to $37.31 per barrel.

The benchmark 10-year note rose 4/32 in price to yield 1.9627 percent from 1.977 percent on Friday.

Spot gold fell 0.9 percent, last trading at $1,236.

Additional reporting by Laila Kearney, Dion Rabouin, Barani Krishnan and Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Editing by Nick Zieminski and Meredith Mazzilli

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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