Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Tuesday, January 10, Morning Global Market Roundup: Asia Stocks Steady, Oil In Flux, Sterling Suffering 'Hard' Brexit Fears

By Nichola Saminather
January 10, 2017

Asian stock markets steadied on Tuesday and crude prices inched up from Monday's three-week low, with investors uncertain whether output cuts by major exporters, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, will be enough to support the oil market as other producers have increased supplies.

Sterling, however, languished near its lowest close in three months on renewed concerns about a "hard" Brexit.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS advanced 0.3 percent after a tentative start.

Japan's Nikkei .N225 erased earlier losses to trade little changed.

China's CSI 300 .CSI300 was little changed, after China's producer prices beat expectations to surge to a more than five-year high in December as raw materials prices soared in the face of a weaker yuan.

Consumer inflation also rose but missed forecasts.

The Shanghai Composite index .SSEC slipped 0.2 percent.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng .HSI added 0.3 percent.

Oil prices were marginally steadier on Tuesday after suffering a nearly 4 percent fall on Monday, their biggest one-day loss in six weeks, amid fears that record Iraqi crude exports in December and rising U.S. output, and increased supplies from Iran would undermine an agreement by exporters, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, to curb production.

"It’s unusual to have these agreements last for very long because inevitably someone cheats," said Daniel Morris, senior investment strategist at BNP Paribas Investment Partners.

"It’s certainly conceivable that the agreement falls apart and you get more production than anticipated in addition to already thinking that it (the oil price) should be lower because of dollar strength."

U.S. crude CLc1 crawled up 0.1 percent to $52.04 a barrel, after slumping 3.8 percent on Monday.

Global benchmark Brent LCOc1 added 0.15 percent to $55.03, after dropping 3.8 percent to $54.94 a barrel on Monday.

Sterling was marginally steadier on Tuesday after sharp drops on Monday and Friday dumped the currency at its lowest level since Oct. 11.

Standing at $1.217 on Tuesday, sterling was just 0.1 percent firmer, a negligible improvement after Monday's fall of 1.0 percent, and Friday's 1.1 percent drop.

Prime Minister Theresa May's comments on Sunday that Britain would not be keeping "bits" of European Union membership stoked fears of a "hard Brexit", as she said border controls would be prioritised over market access.

EU officials say Britain cannot have access to its single market of 500 million consumers without accepting the principle of free movement.

The U.S. dollar was down 0.4 percent at 115.585 yen JPY=D4 on Tuesday, ahead of a news conference by U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday, his first since winning the November election.

The dollar index .DXY, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global peers, slipped 0.3 percent to 101.64, extending Monday's 0.3 percent loss.

The euro EUR=EBS climbed 0.3 percent to $1.06075 on Tuesday.

Gold shone amid investors' quest for safety. Spot gold XAU=, which jumped to a more than one-month high on Monday, widened gains 0.3 percent to $1,184.86 an ounce on Tuesday.

Article Link To Reuters:

Backpage.com Shuts "Adult" Section In Face Of Government Pressure

January 10, 2017

The online classified advertising site Backpage.com abruptly shut its "adult" section on Monday, yielding to a campaign by some state and federal government officials to close a service they contend promotes prostitution and human trafficking.

The unexpected move came on the eve of a hearing convened by a U.S. Senate subcommittee at which Backpage executives had been ordered to testify. In a letter to the subcommittee that rejects the legitimacy of the hearing, Backpage attorneys said the executives would appear but would not testify.

The move also comes on the heels of a criminal action in California, where Attorney General Kamala Harris has filed charges of pimping and money-laundering against Backpage CEO Carl Ferrer and the company's controlling shareholders, Michael Lacey and James Larkin.

"The decision of Backpage.com today to remove its Adult section in the United States will no doubt be heralded as a victory by those seeking to shutter the site, but it should be understood for what it is: an accumulation of acts of government censorship using extra-legal tactics," Backpage.com said in a statement.

"Like the decision by Craigslist to remove its adult category in 2010, this announcement is the culmination of years of effort by government at various levels to exert pressure on Backpage.com and to make it too costly to continue," it said.

The company vowed to continue its legal battles, which have become an important test for the entire internet industry of whether online platforms can be held liable for the content posted on their sites.

Backpage.com also cited praise from law enforcement agencies and child-protection organizations who said the site had been helpful in rooting out human trafficking.

Article Link To Reuters: