US stock indices end the week, and at the same time start the new quarter, on a neutral-positive note on the back of March labor market data.
Non-farm payrolls for private non-farm payrolls reached 431K against February’s 750K and expectations of 480K. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate declined to 3.6% from 3.8% and the manufacturing PMI reached 58.8 points.
Dow Jones “swallowed” the negative statistics.
The Dow Jones index rose thanks to the last trading hour, which was able to “pull” the stock benchmark by a symbolic +0.4%. The S&P500 and Nasdaq added about 0.34% and 0.29%, respectively. What are investors hoping for more? A possible reduction in Fed aggressiveness at the May meeting, or a historically strong April? Or was this a technical correction to yesterday’s 1% drop?
Gas tensions cooled off a bit in Europe on Friday. Representatives of the largest importers of Russian gas received Gazprom’s documentation explaining the technical scheme for paying for the blue fuel in rubles.
Europe is beginning to like Gazprom’s plan
The representatives of Austria and France have already found it relatively acceptable. It is safe to assume that the ice of confrontation between the European Union and Russia is beginning to break a little. And Friday’s cautious statements from the Western front indicate the beginning of a trend of some kind of agreement with Russian conditions.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller talks to Vladimir Putin about new export horizons. Photo: Yandex Images
By the way, the gas quotations also testify to this. The cost of 1000 cubic meters of natural gas, according to the TTF index of the Netherlands, today declined by almost 7%, reaching a price tag of $ 1286. The Russian currency also confirms the trend. The ruble allowed itself a 5% rest today, correcting its strengthening to ₽85.40.
Biden introduces “democratic prices” for oil
Joe Biden, meanwhile, continues to restore fairness to the oil market. The U.S. president’s approval rating is at its lowest point in his administration, which is not the case for motor fuel prices, which have just recently been setting price records.
The announcement by Washington to re-conserve oil reserves in the amount of 180 million barrels still has an impact on the market of black gold. The West Texas Intermediate (WTI) lost about 15% last week, falling from $114 a barrel to $99. A similar situation can be seen with the European benchmark Brent, which ended the week trading below $105.