U.S. equities advanced with first back-to-back gains in two weeks

U.S. stocks finished higher on Thursday with first back-to-bank gains in two weeks as investors assessed the Fed Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s comment that the central bank is determined to bring inflation down during a discussion hosted by the Cato Institute. Meanwhile, the ECB hiked interest rates by 75 basis points, and signaled that more jumbo-sized rate hikes would likely follow. Subsequently, Dow Jones increased 0.6% to finish at 31,774.52, S&P 500 increased 0.7% to finish at 4,006.18 while Nasdaq 100 advanced 0.6% to finish at 11,862.13. The 10-year yield Treasury is at 3.317%. Gold spot price is at $1,708.46 per ounce while WTI crude oil gained $1.04 to $82.98 per barrel.

The Biden administration announced more than $2.8 billion in additional aid in weapons and military financing to Ukraine and its neighbors. President Biden held a video call Thursday with allies including leaders of the Group of the G7, NATO and EU focusing on ways to bolster Europe’s energy supplies ahead of a new round of European sanctions against Russia in December that could lead to price spikes for energy. Russia’s move to shut down Nord Stream left just one major pipeline bringing natural gas to Europe, that runs via Ukraine and is extremely vulnerable due nearby combat. Russia’s equity market gained slightly this Friday morning trimming its weekly losses with both IMOEX and RTSI up 0.46% and 0.9% respectively and trading and 2,401 and 1,248. Oil and gas company Surgutneftegas was among the best performers, along with metal producers Norilsk Nickel and Polyus. Russian ruble was little changed with USDRUB at 60.57 and EURRUB at 61.04 as investors weighted the impact of falling oil prices. In economic news Citi has improved Russia’s 2022 GDP Forecast from -5.5% to -2.9% pointing out that PMI indexes “have been in an expansionary mode”, consumer sentiment indicators have recovered, and energy revenues have been robust. 10-year benchmark ruble bond yields were up 2bps to 8.38% with Russian government planning to resume OFZs s as soon as this month.

SSA opens firmer to end the week. The space closed firm even as rates reversed some early rallying post the ECB rate hike and Powell’s remarks that the Fed is bent on reining in inflation. €-denominated paper was much offered in the aftermath pulling such names as BENIN to close flat on the day. Elsewhere, members of William Ruto’s coalition were elected heads of both chambers of Parliament giving the President-elect key control of the legislative agenda; KENINT (+.25) continues firmer at the open.