The reopening in the US and UK continues apace. More states are opening up bars, restaurants and other hospitality venues at full capacity, whilst Britons are set to resume international travel this month and get back in the pub too. Europe is catching up fast on vaccinating its population and will be at a similar level by the summer. The vaccines are working. Stimulus is also supporting spending as US personal incomes soared by 21 per cent last month. Dare we consider a return to genuine normality soon? Perhaps, but the picture is very uneven across the globe, as India shows all too clearly.
European stocks opened broadly higher on Tuesday before easing back to the flatline, with the UK market leading the way in a holiday-shortened trading week. The FTSE 100 rose 0.7 per cent in early trade, testing the 7040 high from last month again before paring gains. Infineon scrubbed 20pts off the DAX as the German index dropped by around 0.4 per cent. US markets were higher on Monday, with the S&P 500 up 0.3 per cent to 4,192 and the Dow Jones rising 0.7 per cent to 34,113. The Nasdaq lagged, falling 0.5 per cent as big tech names declined a touch following a period of strong gains running into earnings season. Tesla fell 3.5 per cent and Amazon dropped over 2 per cent.
Profits at Saudi Aramco soared 30 per cent versus last year as higher oil prices lifted earnings. Net income rose to $21.7bn. Crude prices have rebounded strongly in the last 12 months –it's just over a year since WTI futures dropped into negative territory ahead of expiration. Crude prices have a bullish bias at the start of May with WTI futures (Jun) hovering around the $643.50 area and Brent just a little under $68. Whilst there concerns about the situation in India and implications for demand growth, this is being outweighed by hopes for demand recovering strongly.