The S&P 500 rose for a second consecutive day on Friday, despite data showing that consumer spending had fallen in the United States.
Figures released today by the Commerce Department reported that spending fell by the most in 10 months in February.
The data revealed that spending which accounts for over two-thirds of U.S. GDP fell by 1.0% in February, after rising by 3.4% in January.
Markets had expected a 0.7% decline, mainly due to the energy crisis which took place in parts of the country last month. Many believe spending in March will likely show a greater level of growth.
As of writing the S&P 500 was up 0.84%.
Oil Prices rise on supply concerns
After dropping for the majority of the week, Friday saw a reversal of fortune in oil, as prices climbed by as much as 4%.
Prices climbed as it was reported that concerns of supply were growing, due to the ongoing blockage of a key distribution route.
The block comes around Egypt’s Suez Canal, where it is said that a giant container ship is disrupting the flow of traffic around the Red Sea.
As a result of this, several oil tankers have been forced to divert cargoes, with such diversions sometimes adding as much as 16 days to sailing times.
OPEC+ is also set to meet next week to discuss production cuts, with the cartel likely to take this setback into consideration.
Prices of WTI crude hit an intraday high of $61.26.
Tensions continue between EU, AstraZeneca over vaccine rollout
The European Union continued its war of words with AstraZeneca on Friday, as it also tightened up rules on vaccine exports.
Many have criticized the EU’s vaccine rollout strategy, which has led to a rebuttal from the union, blaming the slow rollout on missed vaccine delivery targets.
Speaking on the matter, European Commission President Ursula von der Leye stated that, “We want to make sure that Europe gets its fair share of vaccines. Because we must be able to explain to our citizens that if companies export their vaccines to the whole world, it is because they are fully honoring their commitments and it does not risk security of supply in the European Union”.
Whilst alluding to AstraZeneca, the President added that, “We all know, we could have been much faster if all pharmaceutical companies had fulfilled their contracts”.
Quote of the day – “Frankly, I don’t see markets; I see risks, rewards, and money.”– Larry Hite