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Markets To Begin Today's Session Modestly In The Green

Stocks are indicated to start today’s session modestly in the green, with growing hopes of a delayed Fed hike and continued oil price gains helping sentiment. The data docket is relatively on the light side today and the rest of this week, with Q1 earnings season now effectively in the rearview mirror.

Oil prices have recovered dramatically from February lows, with a combination of U.S. dollar weakness and falling U.S. supplies, particularly from higher cost shale basins, helping the commodity’s fundamental equation. This organic development has been taking place even though OPEC, the Saudi-led global oil cartel, has been made ineffective by its regional rivalry with Iran.

The leadership changes within Saudi Arabia’s oil industry over the weekend that further consolidate the new deputy crown prince’s hold over the country’s energy policy is expected to further lower the odds of any imminent supply cuts from the kingdom.
This otherwise bearish development comes at a time of a big chunk of Canadian oil production going offline as a result of wildfires, and increased Chinese imports of the commodity. The offline Canadian volumes will eventually come back, but I have long been of the view that the worst is behind us in the oil market, with the commodity stabilizing around current levels over the summer months and starting to inch higher in the second half of the year on the back of reduced supply overhang. No doubt, stocks of Energy producers have been some of the best performers in the market over the last few months.
More than oil, the market is keying off of the evolving Fed outlook, with many in the market now seeing lower possibility of a June rate hike following the weak April jobs report on Friday. I didn’t think the jobs report was particularly weak, but many big Wall Street firms like Goldman Sachs (GS), Bank of America (BAC) and others changed their Fed calls following the Friday report, delaying their next Fed hike expectation from June to later in the year.

The Retails Sales report coming out on Friday is the only major economic reading that will give us further color on the state of the U.S. economy.

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