Global markets continue to gain as Brent heads to year highs

Yesterday, US investors returned from a long weekend in a good mood, US indices closed in the green, amid rising oil prices and retail sales growth on the eve of New Year holidays. Oil prices have moved to gain in US trading on expectations of global production cuts, after the first agreement in the past 15 years between OPEC and non-OPEC countries that will start working on Sunday. US economic data were positive and supported the market. CB consumer confidence index in December rose to 113.7 from 109.4 the previous month, together with a sharp increase in the retail sales volumes provided some strong demand in the consumer sector.

Today, European stock markets are traded in different directions amid energy and mining sector gains and the continuing banking sector decline. Rising oil prices supports energy companies, while positive data from China supported mining companies. Profit growth of China's major industrial companies in November was 14.5%. Given the positive data from China, metals are expected to correct some ground and display some gains despite strong US dollar.

European banking sector suffers losses amid Italian banks worries. Italian banks are leading the decline. Banca Popolare di Milano Scar lost -2,7%, Banco Popolare SC fell by -2.6% and Unione di Banche Italiane SpA fell by -1.2%.  The trading in stocks of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA suspended.

In FOREX currency market, trading is steady in the current ranges. The dollar index continues to trade above the level of 103 points and looks strong. Brent crude oil keeps on gaining after consolidation at $ 55 level. Looks like Brent oil is heading to the maximum area in 2016, the level of $ 57.50- $ 58. Yesterday Brent strengthened by 0.4%, continuing the Tuesday growth, when oil rose by 1.7%.

The final trading week of the year, usually passes without sharp market fluctuations or high volatility, due to lower trading volumes. Many investors have not returned to the trading terminals after the Christmas holidays, planning to return after the New Year. The main changes in the portfolios are to be made at the beginning of the New Year, while now investors increasingly focused on profit-taking. However, market sentiment remains positive. Today, the focus of the market will be around small portion of US statistics.