The euro is rallying as the EU Summit enters its fourth day, mainly supported on high optimism that EU Leaders have made enough progress over the recovery fund. The original proposal was for 500 billion euro in grants and the Frugal Four seem to have successfully negotiated that down to 390 billion euro. Hopes are high for the deal to get done today, with risk appetite mainly looking intact even if they need another week to finalize the technical details.
European stocks and US futures are trading mixed ahead of a busy week which is filled with 78 earnings updates from the S&P 500 companies. This week is all about fiscal stimulus and it seems the EU will get their deal done, while Republicans and White House will settle on a $1 trillion proposal that will limit funding for virus testing.
Oil prices are drifting lower, but firmly trapped in their recent trading range, mostly following the general theme of weakness with global equities. The big story in the energy space is Chevron’s acquisition of Noble Energy for about $5 billion in shares. This is likely the first of many deals to be done as US energy companies will need to consolidate even further. The deal made a lot of sense for Chevron as it is very cost-effective and it improves their position with US shale oil.
This major deal will be the first domino to fall in what should be the beginning of a massive consolidation in the energy sector. COVID-19 has put a permanent cap with oil prices as demand won’t return until a vaccine is fully in place. Many of the smaller companies can’t survive in this environment and the incentive to make a deal will grow.
Gold prices are holding steady as optimism remains high that an EU-wide recovery fund deal will get done. On the virus front, the US could be showing some improvement as hospitalizations decline and as the rate of increase declined in 36 states. The headlines are not all positive as new cases are increasing and several hotspots are hitting ICU capacity. Gold could see some short-lived headwinds as expectations are high for the Oxford vaccine study to show positive results.
Gold’s bullish outlook however is not going away anytime soon as virus uncertainty globally persist, the stimulus trade remains anchored, and as US presidential election uncertainty will intensify over the coming weeks.
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