Why surging oil and copper prices are ‘completely detached from reality’, Commerzbank says

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Why surging oil and copper prices are ‘completely detached from reality’, Commerzbank says

The GameStop GME, -11.43% frenzy may have cooled down but attention will turn to the fallout later on Thursday as lawmakers are set to grill the key players. 

A number of the principal actors are set to face the House Financial Services Committee at noon following the backlash against online trading platform Robinhood and other brokers’ decisions to temporarily restrict trading in some so-called meme stocks, like that videogames retailer, last month.

The bond market selloff, and rising Treasury yields, also remain in focus, confirming optimism over the COVID-19 recovery but also sparking concerns that inflation could rise. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury TMUBMUSD10Y, 1.288% has jumped 38 basis points this year. U.S. stocks fell at the open after weekly jobless claims came in at 861,000, the highest in a month.

Oil prices BRN00, -1.50% continued higher, after U.S. prices CL.1, -1.92% settled above $60 on Wednesday as freezing conditions kept refineries in Texas closed and production disrupted.

In our call of the day, Commerzbank analysts said commodities were “completely detached from reality,” noting that oil prices in particular were being unmoved by news that would typically move them lower. The recent upswing in metals prices was also starting to look “excessive,” they added.

“Nothing seems capable of halting the surge in oil prices at present,” said energy analyst Carsten Fritsch, noting that Brent has made gain in 14 of the last 15 trading days, climbing by roughly $10 in three weeks. A number of developments are being ignored, he said, including reports that higher prices have prompted the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to consider gradually ramping up oil supply from April, and the likelihood that Saudi Arabia won’t extend its voluntary production cuts beyond the end of March.

“This selective perception is characteristic of markets in phases of excess,” Fritsch added. “Normally oil prices should have responded to such news by falling significantly because this will probably see up to 1.5 million additional barrels of crude oil reach the market per day in April,” he said.

This detachment from reality is also present when it comes to copper HG00, +0.63%, which reached its highest level since April 2012 on Thursday, as well nickel and aluminum which have also hit multiyear highs, the Commerzbank analysts said — largely on hopes of a significant global economic recovery. The analysts noted that Chinese traders have returned to the markets following a week-long holiday, driving prices higher.

However, precious and industrial metals analyst Daniel Briesemann said there were no new data underpinning the “pronounced rise” in metals prices in recent weeks. “In our opinion, metals prices are currently being driven to a large extent by speculation, and the upswing is beginning to look excessive. From a technical perspective, copper and aluminum are overbought again at present, as measured against the relative strength index,” he said in a note.

Gold GC00, -0.81%, which fell below the key $1,800 an ounce level earlier this week amid rising bond yields and dollar strength, is also detached from reality but in the opposite way, Fritsch said.

The tweet

Is DoubleLine Capital’s billionaire “Bond King” Jeffrey Gundlach about to turn into a bitcoin BTCUSD, -1.16% fan?

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The markets

U.S. stocks slipped at the open, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.38% falling 0.9%, or 280 points. The S&P 500 SPX, -0.44% and the Nasdaq COMP, -0.72% were also lower. European stocks also fell as investors digested mixed corporate earnings. Technology stocks led Asian markets lower overnight.

The buzz

Tilray TLRY, -14.00% narrowed losses and boosted revenue in the final three months of 2020, as it prepared to merge with fellow Canadian marijuana company Aphria APHA, -6.70%. Shares in Tilray jumped more than 8% in premarket trading.

Walmart WMT, -6.48% announced a new $20 billion stock buyback plan as the retailer’s earnings missed forecasts.

Google GOOG, -0.52% has struck deals in Australia to pay for journalism, while Facebook FB, -1.53% has vowed to restrict news sharing as Australian lawmakers consider forcing digital giants into payment agreements.

Mining stocks made gains on Thursday as copper futures rallied, hitting the highest level since April 2012. Rio Tinto RIO, , Antofagasta ANTO, +0.03%, and BHP BHP, -0.42% were among the biggest risers.

Apple AAPL, -0.86% stock slipped to a one-month low on Wednesday, after the tech giant’s two largest shareholders said they had trimmed their stakes.

Airbus AIR, -2.78% stock slumped more than 3%, as the plane maker’s 2021 guidance disappointed investors. The company said it doesn’t expect to deliver more aircraft in 2021 than the 566 it delivered in 2020.

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