European equity markets remain under pressure in today’s trading session as investors might be cautious regarding the Greek debt issues and consequently the Eurozone’s economic stability and future prospects. The CAC, DAX and Italian benchmark index declined between 0.6% and 1.3%, while the London equity benchmark index bucked the downtrend and edged higher within the recent range.
The US dollar weakened further today following fairly tepid US economic data with the USD index hovering around 97.0 against a basket of currencies. The softer US dollar offered support to most commodity prices. Crude oil prices reversed earlier losses and climbed higher in the afternoon session, while base and precious metals posted renewed gains. WTI front month futures rebounded strongly and rose over 1% to breach $47 per barrel, while Brent front month futures rallied towards $56 per barrel.
Base metal prices were all higher with copper leading the uptrend gaining over 1.4% to reach $6,130. Aluminium posted strong gains and retested $1800, while lead and nickel rose towards $1,850 and $14,300, respectively. As risk appetite in global equity markets was limited, gold rebounded towards $1,200/ounce and silver rallied over 1% to retest $17.
On the macroeconomic front, the US Chicago Fed National Activity Index was reported at -0.11 in February missing analysts’ expectations of 0.10, while existing home sales rose 1.2% in February against analysts’ estimates of a 1.7% increase.
Tomorrow, investors will be keeping an eye on the release of the US CPI data and new home sales figures in February as well as Markit manufacturing PMI data in March. All eyes remain on the tentative economic conditions in Greece, as its Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been meeting with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin today.