U.S. Markets Trim Gains; Argentina’s MERVAL Tops LatAm Results

Oil prices retreated for the second consecutive week, losing much of the ground gained during the ongoing war in Ukraine

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg
April 08, 2022 | 06:38 PM

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

🗽 On Wall Street:

U.S. stock markets ended the week trimming their gains, falling in the final minutes of trading on Friday, while Treasuries fell following declines triggered by the Federal Reserve’s plan to tighten monetary policy further.

The S&P 500 fell 0.27%, bringing its weekly decline to 1.3%, while the Nasdaq Composite (CCMPDL) slid 1.34% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 had its worst weekly performance since mid-March, while the Dow Jones Industrials gained 0.40%.

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“The Fed intends to curb inflation without triggering a recession; investors are skeptical, but we expect inflation to moderate later this year, which will bring back the doves (supporters of low rates),” said Ed Yardeni, president of Yardeni Research, in a note to Bloomberg.

🔑 The Day’s Key Events:

Oil retreated for a second straight week, losing most of its war-driven gains after the U.S. and its allies announced plans to release a surge of oil from strategic stockpiles to ease rising fuel costs.

Crude oil prices have been hurt after demand in China weakened by a new outbreak of Covid-19, and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s plans to tighten monetary policy to combat inflation curbed demand for risky assets.

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) fell 1% this week and gave up most of its gains since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February.

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“The second weekly decline in oil prices has eased some of the pressures on the global economy, thanks to a combination of factors including huge oil stockpile releases and Chinese blockades. Still, prices are very elevated at around US$100 per barrel, and there remain significant upside risks going forward,” said Edward Moya, an analyst at Oanda.

In daily trading, WTI for May delivery rose $2.23 to $98.26 per barrel in New York. Meanwhile, Brent for June delivery rose $2.20 and stood at $102.78 per barrel.

🥇 The Leader:

Argentina’s Merval index (MERVAL) once again had the best performance in the region, gaining 0.58%. The shares of Mirgor Sacifia (MIRG) and Banco Macro S.A. (BMA) were among the highest gainers.

The Chilean stock exchange (IPSA) gained 0.09%, driven by the information technology, industry, energy and consumer staples sectors.

📉 A Bad Day:

The Peruvian stock market saw the sharpest fall in the region on Friday, the S&P BVL Peru (SPBLPGPT) down 1.57% at closing, with the financials, consumer staples and utilities sectors were the worst hit during the day.

Mexico’s S&P BMV/IPC (MEXBOL) dropped 1.07%, dragged down by the industrials, financials and materials sectors, while Brazil’s Ibovespa (IBOV) dropped 0.45%. The non-basic consumer products, real estate and materials sectors drove the fall.

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🍝 For the Dinner Table Debate:

The global food price index reached its highest level in more than 30 years. For the third consecutive time, food prices reached their highest historical value since the index prepared by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been in existence. This record was created in 1990.

On this occasion, groceries rose 33.6% in relation to March 2021, which marks the highest acceleration in the last 14 years. The index also rose 12.6% compared to February this year, to stand at a value of 159.3 points.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been having a direct impact on the value of raw materials, according to the agency. FAO’s cereal price index was 17.1% higher in March than in February, driven by large increases in wheat and all coarse grains prices, largely as a result of the war in Ukraine, the official report said.

Russia and Ukraine together accounted for about 30% and 20% of world wheat and corn exports, respectively, over the past three years.