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Wall Street rallies on trade optimism, hopes of avoiding government shutdown

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(Reuters) – Wall Street’s main indexes extended gains on Tuesday, in a broad-based rally after American lawmakers reached a tentative deal to avoid another partial government shutdown and on hopes of an agreement during the ongoing U.S.-China trade talks.

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 8, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

President Donald Trump comments that he did not anticipate another government shutdown added to sentiment, even though he expressed unhappiness about the agreement that includes funds for U.S.-Mexican border security but not for his promised wall.

The S&P 500 index crossed its 200-day moving average price on Tuesday, a technical level that indicates long-term momentum, for the first time since Dec. 4.

The benchmark index is now just about 7 percent away from its Sept. 20 record closing high, boosted by an upbeat fourth-quarter earnings season, a dovish Federal Reserve and trade optimism.

“The fact that lawmakers want to leave the government open sounds like one of the biggest drivers for markets today,” said Gary Bradshaw, portfolio manager with Hodges Funds in Dallas.

“Investors like that fact that we are getting closer to trade issues improving. They are taking a risk-on stance, everyone is buying today.”

Top U.S. officials arrived in the Chinese capital on Tuesday for high-level trade talks as the world’s two largest economies attempt to strike a deal before a March 1 deadline and avoid another escalation of tariffs.

Trump said he would consider pushing the deadline if the two sides were close to a deal.

Trade-sensitive industrials climbed 1.52 percent, boosted by Boeing Inc and Caterpillar Inc.

Chipmakers, which depend on China for a huge chunk of their revenue, also rose and pushed the Philadelphia chip index 1.92 percent higher.

The broader technology sector rose 1.28 percent, lifted by gains in Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Intel Corp.

Amazon.com Inc rose 2.24 percent and was the biggest boost to the S&P 500 and Nasdaq.

In the latest data underscoring the economy’s strength, U.S. job openings surged to a record high in December.

At 12:41 p.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 337.49 points, or 1.35 percent, at 25,390.60. The S&P 500 was up 32.98 points, or 1.22 percent, at 2,742.78 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 96.36 points, or 1.32 percent, at 7,404.27.

Eight of the 10 major sectors trading higher posted gains of more than 1 percent. Only the real estate sector was trading lower.

About 71 percent of the S&P companies that have posted earnings have topped expectations, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. But analysts’ estimates for first-quarter earnings have turned negative for the first time since 2016.

Electronic Arts Inc jumped 4.3 percent after the videogame maker’s newly launched battle royale game gained traction. Rival Take-Two lost 4.2 percent following a downgrade by a 5-star analyst.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.34-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and by a 3-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 39 new 52-week highs and one new low, while the Nasdaq recorded 61 new highs and nine new lows.

Reporting by Amy Caren Daniel and Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila



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Oil prices dip as U.S. crude output hits record 12 million barrels per day

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SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil prices fell on Friday after the United States reported its crude output hit a record 12 million barrels per day (bpd), undermining efforts by Middle East dominated producer club OPEC to withhold supply and tighten global markets.

FILE PHOTO: A Canadian Natural Resources pump jack pumps oil out of the ground near Dorothy, Alberta, Canada, June 30, 2009. REUTERS/Todd Korol/File Photo

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures were at $56.85 per barrel at 0010 GMT, down 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last settlement.

International Brent crude futures had yet to trade.

U.S. crude oil production reached 12 million barrels per day (bpd) for the first time last week, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) said on Thursday in a weekly report.

(GRAPHIC: U.S. oil production & storage levels – tmsnrt.rs/2Vanxza)

That means U.S. crude output has soared by almost 2.5 million bpd since the start of 2018, and by a whopping 5 million bpd since 2013. America is the only country to reach 12 million bpd of production.

As output surges, U.S. oil stocks are also rising.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories rose by 3.7 million barrels in the week ending Feb. 15, to 454.5 million barrels, the EIA said.

Analysts say U.S. oil firms will export more oil to sell off surplus stocks.

“The continued surge in U.S. production stands as a bearish dynamic for market prices, especially as increasing volumes get sold abroad in a direct challenge to Saudi Arabia and Russia,” said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in New York.

For now, at least, the price dips have halted a rally that pushed crude to 2019 highs this week amid supply cuts led by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

OPEC and some non-affiliated producers such as Russia agreed late last year to cut output by 1.2 million bpd to prevent a large supply overhang from growing.

Another price driver has been U.S. sanctions against oil exporters Iran and Venezuela.

Reporting by Henning Gloystein; Editing by Joseph Radford



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Asian shares tread water as investors watch trade talks

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SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Shares in Asia were flat in early trade on Friday following a fall on Wall Street, with a deteriorating global economic outlook outweighing more signs of progress in trade talks between China and the United States.

Market prices are reflected in a glass window at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) in Tokyo, Japan, February 6, 2018. REUTERS/Toru Hanai/File Photo

Early in the Asian trading day, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up less than 0.1 percent.

(Graphic: Asian stock markets: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4)

Australian shares gained 0.5 percent and Japan’s Nikkei stock index was 0.3 percent lower.

Investors continue to closely watch high-level talks between U.S. and Chinese trade negotiators in Washington, with little more than a week left before a U.S.-imposed deadline for an agreement expires, triggering higher tariffs.

Reuters reported exclusively on Wednesday that the two sides were drafting language for six memorandums of understanding on proposed Chinese reforms, progress that had helped to lift investor sentiment.

But shares on Wall Street slumped Thursday, pulled down by new data showing weakness in U.S. business spending plans and factory activity.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.4 percent to 25,850.63 points, the S&P 500 lost 0.37 percent to 2,774.28 and the Nasdaq Composite – which had climbed the previous eight sessions – dropped 0.4 percent to 7,459.06.

The U.S. Commerce Department said on Thursday that domestic orders for non-defense capital goods excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, dropped 0.7 percent.

Moreover, the U.S. Mid-Atlantic factory sector fell into contraction territory in February for the first time since May 2016, data from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve showed.

“While global manufacturing is weak, services activity is looking more positive. But it is difficult to see manufacturing and services diverging for long,” analysts at ANZ said in a morning note.

“There are strong multiplier effects from manufacturing that imply downside risks to the services sector, particularly in Europe. And trade uncertainty, which is overhanging the manufacturing sector, needs to be resolved.”

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes edged lower to 2.686 percent Friday, compared with a U.S. close of 2.688 percent on Thursday as a bump from investor optimism about trade talks progress ebbed.

The two-year yield, watched as a gauge of expectations of higher Fed fund rates, eased to 2.5266 percent from a U.S. close of 2.529 percent.

The Australian dollar rebounded after tumbling Thursday on a Reuters report that China’s northern port of Dalian has placed an indefinite ban on imports of Australian coal. It was last up 0.3 percent at $0.7107.

The U.S. dollar was barely changed against the yen at 110.66, while the euro inched slightly higher to buy $1.1340.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, was steady at 96.586

U.S. crude dipped 0.25 percent at $56.82 a barrel.

Gold rebounded after falling more than 1 percent Thursday, with spot gold trading up about 0.1 percent at $1,324.92 per ounce. [GOL/]

Reporting by Andrew Galbraith; Additional reporting by Richard Leong in NEW YORK; Editing by Richard Borsuk



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QuadrigaCX’s inadvertent transfer due to ‘platform setting error’

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The court-appointed monitor overseeing the search for the roughly $260 million owed to clients of the embattled QuadrigaCX cryptocurrency exchange says the bitcoin transfer it “inadvertently” made this month was due to a “platform setting error” that prompted the automatic transaction.

Ernst & Young also said in its second report that it has confirmed that the insolvent company’s cold-storage wallets continue to hold approximately 104 bitcoins. It had said that 103 bitcoins had been transferred out on Feb. 6.

The report adds that the Vancouver-based company on Feb. 14 transferred bitcoin, litecoin and other cryptocurrencies over to cold-storage, or offline, wallets controlled by the court-appointed monitor.

The monitor says QuadrigaCX transferred roughly 51.1 bitcoins, 33.3 bitcoin cash, 2,032.7 in bitcoin gold, 822.3 litecoin and 951.5 ether, which will be held pending further order of the court.

The report also says that the cryptocurrency exchange, which was granted creditor protection and appointed a monitor earlier this month, has “no accessible funds” to fund its creditor protection proceedings and pay creditors other than interim financing “which will be exhausted in the near term.”

Ernst & Young says there are three immediate sources of funds available, such as bank drafts and money held by third-party processors, and the company and the monitor are taking steps to facilitate access.

This week, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court judge appointed Toronto law firm Miller Thomson along with the Halifax firm Cox & Palmer as representative counsel for 115,000 clients owed money.



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