Markets generally positive as Saudi Arabia pumps US$20 billion into US infrastructure fund

By Trevor Hoey. Published at May 23, 2017, in Features

On balance it was a positive night for global markets with solid gains in the US and the UK and only marginal retracements in Germany and France.

Geopolitical issues took a back seat, and in the absence of any significant economic data the Dow gained 0.4% to close at 90 points, while the NASDAQ delivered a substantial outperformance as it rallied 0.8% to close at 6133 points.

The NASDAQ is now approaching its all-time high of 6170 points struck on May 16. Tech stocks were well supported, led by majors Microsoft Corporation and Cisco Systems Inc.

However, the focus was on a US$20 billion investment by the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund in US listed Blackstone Group LP, which will assist the group in funding investments in airports, pipelines and other public projects, mainly in the US.

Shares in Blackstone surged 6.7% in response to this development.

The FTSE 100 gained 0.3% to close at 7496 points.

The DAX fell 0.1%, closing at 12,619 points, while the Paris CAC 40 was only down slightly as it closed at 5322 points.

On the commodities front, oil gained nearly 1% to close at US$50.80 per barrel.

Gold has recovered after last week’s dip to revisit the US$1260 per ounce mark.

Iron ore rallied strongly, gaining 1.8% to close at US$62.69 per tonne.

While base metals generally traded higher, there weren’t any significant gains.

Lead was the only metal to lose ground, but it only came off marginally.

Nickel delivered the best performance, gaining approximately 0.5% to close at US$4.24 per pound.

Copper was relatively flat at US$2.57 per pound.

The Australian dollar gained ground against the US dollar, closing at US$0.747.

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