In thin and volatile holiday trading, gold rose to a new peak while US crude oil touched its highest level since September 2008, as the dollar extended its weakness, reports the FT’s global market overview. With Europe and the UK closed for holidays, share markets that were open in Asia and the US were mixed. Investors were focused on commodities and prices whipsawed amid slim volumes. At one stage, silver surged more than 5 per cent to $49.31 an ounce, a 30-year high and within sight of the landmark $50 level. US crude oil rose to $113.48 a barrel before easing below $112. In New York, the S&P 500 closed down 0.16 per cent. The first-quarter earnings season is set to pick up this week with 181 companies in the S&P index reporting results. The US government bonds market was modestly firmer, with the yield on 10-year notes down 3 basis points at 3.37 per cent.
Gold hit a record high, while silver surged more than 5 per cent to within a whisker of its all-time peak, as the dollar continued its decline and inflation concerns drove haven flows, reports the FT. Driven also by government debt concerns, gold rose 1 per cent to $1,518.20 a troy ounce, the seventh-consecutive trading session in which it has hit a record high. Silver surged 5.5 per cent to $49.17 an ounce, having hit a 30-year high of $49.80, within sight of the landmark $50 level.
Syrian security forces have cracked down on the city of Deraa in the Ba’athist regime’s strongest show of force yet against a popular protest movement calling for its overthrow, reports the FT. At least five people were reported to have been killed, but information has been difficult to verify. The US administration, which has sought to improve relations with Damascus, said it was “pursuing a range of possible policy options, including targeted sanctions”.
Lenovo is kicking off an aggressive campaign to penetrate rural markets in five developing countries, seeking to challenge competitors such as Hewlett-Packard, Dell and Acer using the recipe behind its recent successes in its Chinese home market. The PC maker plans to build a vast distribution network to “fully cover” rural areas in Indonesia, Brazil, Mexico, India and Turkey during the next three years, Chen Shaopeng, president of Lenovo’s emerging markets business group, told the Financial Times.
Shareholders should be “highly sceptical” of NYSE Euronext’s plans to reveal additional cost-savings from its planned merger with Deutsche Börse, its rival bidders have warned. The caution came after Duncan Niederauer, NYSE Euronext chief executive, told the Financial Times that his group and Deutsche Börse, which agreed a friendly merger in February, would be raising their synergy estimates by nearly a third, from €300m to some €400m ($583m).
HSBC is to close down its retail operations in Russia, making it the second foreign bank to leave the state-dominated sector in as many month, reports the FT. The decision by HSBC, on the back of a similar plan at Barclays, comes as both rethink their global strategy to cut back on operations that are a drag on group profitability.
China Investment Corp, the Chinese sovereign wealth fund, will soon receive $100bn-$200bn in new funds from the government, according to three people familiar with the matter, reports the FT. CIC, which has already fully allocated the $110bn it had available for offshore investments, is to get the new money as Beijing seeks to reduce its exposure to US government debt. “There has been bureaucratic bickering for a year,” said one person familiar with the matter. “It has been difficult to resolve”.
Elsewhere over the Easter long weekend,
– A bunny thing happened: an oral history of the Playboy clubs. Read more