Oil’s Ascent to $95 Is Changing Trades Across Wall Street

The non-stop rally in oil is forcing investors to rethink their bets across global markets.

(Bloomberg) — The non-stop rally in oil is forcing investors to rethink their bets across global markets. 

Airline stocks, currencies of oil-importer nations and bond yields are just a handful of the asset classes already starting to reflect the reality of Brent at $95 a barrel. Meanwhile, strategists from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Barclays Plc have rolled out macro reports telling clients how to trade the energy price shock. 

With a trio of central bank meetings still to come this week, energy and its potential impact on inflation and economic growth has become the biggest conversation on Wall Street. 

“One of the most obvious impact would be for oil prices to derail the trend of disinflation and prevent central banks to cut rates as early as hoped by markets,” said Michel Menigoz, head of equity and balanced fund management at Sanso Investment Solutions in Paris. 

Here’s four charts that show how markets are reacting: 

Dollar Ascendant  

Dollar’s Relentless Rally Set for a Boost From Higher Oil Prices

Energy is driving a wedge between the foreign exchange of oil importers and exporters. “Almost all currencies weaken against the dollar as a result of a supply oil shock,” wrote Themistoklis Fiotakis, head of FX research at Barclays. 

In particular, the euro, Japanese yen, Swedish krona and other central eastern currencies are vulnerable, he said, adding that a handful of other exporting countries, such as Brazil and Canada, may be able to weather the broader storm.

Airline Stocks  

Airline Stocks Come Down to Earth as Earnings View Darkens 

Costlier fuel is squeezing airline profits, causing investors to sell travel and logistics stocks. The 10-member S&P Supercomposite Airlines Index has fallen 20% since mid-July, making it one of the hardest hit areas of the stock market in recent months. 

European Oil Majors  

Energy Shares Look Cheap Given Oil’s Recent Surge: Taking Stock

In contrast, Europe’s energy companies stand to make a fortune. For UK’s bluechip index FTSE 100, energy stocks are a particularly big driver. While the sector has about 13% weight in the index, it generated 26% of the benchmark’s earnings in 2022. 

Energy stocks have once again become a popular trade on Wall Street, with Goldman and JPMorgan Chase & Co. strategists recommending an overweight position. 

“Energy is going to do well for the next few months, and trigger a rotation into lagging big oil stocks,” said Edmund Shing, global chief investment officer at BNP Paribas Wealth Management. “It’s time to rotate out of tech. Take Nvidia, the move post-earnings suggests everyone who wanted to buy has already bought.”

Bond Markets 

US and European bonds yields have been creeping higher, partly due to investors pricing in the fact that interest rates will have to stay higher for longer. In Germany, where there’s growing concern about how expensive energy will hurt the country’s industrial engine, the move has been particularly sharp. Two-year yields have jumped to 3.2%, compared with 2.9% in early August. 

“The spike in oil prices is a timely reminder,” said Dario Perkins, managing director for global macro at TS Lombard. “Inflation volatility is not going away.”

–With assistance from Sagarika Jaisinghani and Julien Ponthus.

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