U.S., Latin American Stock Markets Post Further Gains

Oil prices rise above $100 again after losing ground in recent weeks

A trader at work at the New York Stock Exchange. Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg
March 17, 2022 | 07:35 PM

A roundup of Thursday’s stock market results from across the region

🗽 On Wall Street:

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell’s hand was still felt in U.S. stock markets on Thursday, which closed with another day of gains, following the previous day’s positive performance after Powell’s speech and the Fed’s interest rate hike.

Powell said the country’s economy is strong enough to withstand tighter monetary policy and that the possibility of recession is still not on the cards.

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The S&P 500 rose 1.23%, while the Nasdaq Composite (CCMPDL) gained 1.33%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Index advanced 1.23%.

With this performance, the S&P 500 closed its biggest three-day rally since November 2020. Stocks also benefited after it was reported that JPMorgan (JPM) processed Russia’s US$117 million bond payment, meaning that the country appears to have avoided its first foreign debt default.

However, for Edward Moya, an analyst at Oanda, “there are too many short-term geopolitical and economic growth risks, so the stock rally looks set to be capped soon.”

Moya added that investors will also be attentive to the call that the presidents of the United States and China, Joe Biden and Xi Jinping, will have in the middle of the war in Ukraine.

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🔑 The Day’s Key Data:

Oil prices rose above $100 again after losing ground in recent weeks, having reached highs not seen in 13 years following the outbreak of war between Russia and Ukraine.

Despite the optimism generated by a possible nuclear agreement with Iran, which would allow its crude oil supply to return to international markets, traders continue to move at the pace of the conflict in Eastern Europe.

Oil rallied after a Kremlin spokesman said a report pointing to progress in talks on Ukraine was “erroneous”, even though discussions will continue, raising fears about the impact on supply.

The International Energy Agency forecast that Russia’s oil output will fall by about a quarter in April because of the war.

🥇 The Leader:

For the second consecutive day, Latin American markets posted gains, with Argentina’s Merval index (MERVAL) leading, closing up 2.51%.

The Argentine Senate will next week vote on the bill outlining the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), after the opposition Juntos por el Cambio opted to be present in the chamber and enable the quorum for the discussion.

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Gerry Rice, IMF spokesman, said that “broad political and social support in Argentina will be critical for the success of the economic program”.

Brazil’s Ibovespa (IBOV) closed with a gain of 1.77%, while the Mexican stock exchange (MEXBOL) gained 1.78% to register an all-time high.

“It caught the good mood that we continued to see in general terms in most of the higher risk markets, currencies and equities,” James Salazar, deputy director of Economic and Stock Market Analysis at CiBanco, told Bloomberg Línea.

🍝 For the Dinner Table Debate:

Peru’s Constitutional Court granted a habeas corpus in favor of former president Alberto Fujimori, who requested through his legal defense to annul the decision that denied him of the pardon that the former president received on Christmas 2017.

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With this decision of the highest Peruvian court, Alberto Fujimori will be able to leave prison, where he had been serving a sentence for crimes against humanity committed during his government in the 1990s.

On December 24, 2017, former President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski granted Fujimori a pardon on humanitarian grounds, amid protests and after saving himself from an impeachment process. The Judiciary, however, annulled the decision because, it said, Fujimori did not meet the legal requirements to receive a pardon on humanitarian grounds, but has now annulled that decision.