Oil Prices surge to Highest level since late 2014, Apple shares enjoy a Buffett Boost

Investor Warren Buffett in a black suit with a red tie, holding playing cards in his hand.

Global markets finished higher as concerns over Venezuelan oil production and the Iran nuclear deal boosted oil prices and shares in Apple rose.

Markets at 7:30am (AEST):

  • ASX SPI 200 futures +0.3pc, ASX 200 (Monday close) +0.4pc to 6,084.
  • AUD: 75.11 US cents, 55.39 British pence, 63 Euro cents, 81.92 Japanese yen, $NZ1.07
  • US: Dow Jones +0.4pc at 24,357, S&P 500 +0.3pc at 2,672, Nasdaq +0.8pc at 7,265
  • Europe: FTSE closed, DAX +1pc at 12,948, Euro Stoxx 50 +0.5pc at 3,113
  • Commodities: Brent crude +1pc at $US75.6/barrel, spot gold -0.1pc at $US1,313.92/ounce

Oil prices hit their highest level since 2014, with US crude breaking through $US70 a barrel.

The prospect of the US reimposing sanctions on Iran and a dispute between Venezuela’s state-owned oil company and US firm ConocoPhillips spurred the rally.

However, markets on Wall Street closed off the highs of the session after US President Donald Trump tweeted that a decision on the Iran deal was imminent.

“Oil has done well in anticipation of the announcement from Trump. People are braced for the worst,” said Keith Lerner, chief market strategist at SunTrust Advisory Services.

European markets also benefitted from the oil price surge.

Elsewhere, shares in food and beverage company Nestle rose by around 1.5 per cent after it struck a deal with US coffee giant Starbucks for the rights to market Starbucks products around the world.

The US dollar climbed to its highest level so far this year against a basket of currencies, while the Euro weakened.

Apple stocks boosted by Warren Buffett

Technology stocks also enjoyed a rally on US markets.

Shares in Apple rose for a 6th straight session to more than $US185, as renowned investor Warren Buffett continued his praise of the company.

Last week Mr Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway revealed it had increased its stake in Apple and overnight, Mr Buffett told CNBC he would love to own 100 per cent of the stock if he could.

“Buffet took such an outsized position in Apple, which was reassuring to a lot of people,” said Jack Ablin, chief investment officer at Cresset Wealth Advisors.

Berkshire Hathaway held its annual shareholder meeting in Omaha in the US state of Nebraska over the weekend, where Mr Buffett continued his critique of cryptocurrency bitcoin.

Australian investors to brace for budget

The main event for Australian investors will happen after the close of trade today, when federal treasurer Scott Morrison hands down the budget this evening, with income tax cuts expected.

Economists will be waiting to see when a return to a budget surplus is forecast.

“We expect the ratings agencies to be favourably impressed by the budget, but whether it will be enough to see S&P dropping its negative outlook on the AAA rating remains to be seen,” said NAB currency strategist Ray Attrill.

Retail sales figures for March will be released mid-morning. Economists polled by Reuters are tipping a 0.3 per cent rise for the month, following an 0.6 per cent rise in February.

ASX futures are pointing to a positive start for the Australian market.

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