US stock market futures were mixed on Tuesday as traders returned from the 4th of July holiday, while oil prices hit a three-year high after talks between the OPEC+ group of oil producing countries collapsed.
The most dramatic price moves came in the oil markets, where Brent crude, the most sensitive to OPEC+ output, rose 0.5% to $77.56 a barrel, while WTI crude – the US benchmark price – shot up 1.9% to $76.60 a barrel, the highest level since the fall of 2018.
Oil prices were driven up by a collapse in talks on Monday between the OPEC+ group of oil producers on the back of a disagreement about the level of production increases and how they should be measured.
OPEC and its allies had been discussing output increases, but the UAE is unhappy with the proposed target that it believes is too low, according to reports.
Arguments between the participants – in particular the UAE and the effective leader of the group, Saudi Arabia – spilled into public view and raised the prospect of the sort of infighting that rocked oil markets in 2020.
“The OPEC+ meeting’s postponement brings the market closer to an August without extra barrels from the alliance, and that is why oil prices immediately jumped on the news,” Louise Dickson, oil markets analyst at Rystad Energy, said.
“The market may be expecting a deal to increase output, but the fact that we don’t have it yet, after all the anticipation, is increasing the possibility of a surprise outcome that could keep supply stable.”
US bond yields inched higher in European trading. The yield on the key 10-year US Treasury note, which moves inversely to the price, was little changed on the day around 1.434%.
It has fallen sharply since peaking at around 1.75% in March, as investors have gradually become less worried about the prospect of inflation hurting the earnings on bonds and stocks.
Lower bond yields have helped fuel a rise in US stocks, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq both gaining sharply over the last month. Economic data, such as a bigger-than-expected rise in non-farm payrolls in June, has also added to the optimism.
In cryptoland, bitcoin rose 3% to $34,875 on Tuesday as the token continued to consolidate. It was nonetheless still down more than 45% from April’s record high of $64,800.