4 Things to Know in Thursday’s Market

Oil tops $50 a barrel, global stocks slip, the dollar and sterling ease, and Spanish banks tumble.

Calendar for thursday on white background. Isolated 3D image
Calendar for thursday on white background. Isolated 3D image

Here are four things you should know about today’s market:

1.     Oil Climbs to $50 a Barrel

Oil prices were higher on Thursday, with Brent crude climbing above the $50 a barrel mark for the first time in a year.

Brent futures peaked at $50.26 a barrel, a 52-cent jump. West Texas Intermediate futures followed closely behind at $49.83.

While a positive sign for oil, Thursday’s gains are no indication that the commodity slump is over.

2.     Global Stocks Slip

Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index was 0.1% lower this morning, dragged down by the Spanish bank Banco Popular Espanol SA (MC:POP). The bank, which is down 24.92% on the day, announced that it would be selling new shares to raise 2.5 billion euros.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 0.2%.

S&P 500 futures were down 0.1%.

3.     The Dollar, Sterling Ease

The dollar index slipped 0.2% to 95.21, falling from its two-month high of 95.66 yesterday. Investors are focused on upcoming comments on Fed speakers and new economic data later today.

James Bullard, St. Louis Fed President, will speak in Singapore, and Jerome Powell, Fed Governor, will speak on monetary policy and the economy later today.

Data on jobless claims, the housing market and durable goods orders will also be released today.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen will speak at Harvard University on Friday.

The British pound ended its rally as a new poll shows a greater possibility that voters will elect to stay in the European Union.

The currency slipped to below $1.47 after new data confirmed that the U.K.’s economy was slower in the first quarter.

One-month volatility for the pound is at its highest level since 2010.

4.     Spanish Banks Plummet

Spanish banks were under pressure on Thursday after the Banco Popular Espanol SA (MC: POP) tumbled 24% after announcing it would raise 2.5 billion euros through a share sale. The bank is hoping to ease concerns from investors about its bad property loans and capital ratio.

News of the bank’s share sale sent shares for other major Spanish lenders tumbling. Bankia (MC: BKIA) and Caixabank SA (MC:CABK) both lost 4%, while Banco de Sabadell SA (MC: SABE) fell 6.5%. Banco Santander (MC: SAN) was down 2.1% and BBVA (MC: BBVA) eased 1.9%.