Dollar slips further, crude oil prices rebound

March 23
5:55 PM 2015

The dollar fell further on Monday on views a Federal Reserve interest rate hike will come later rather than sooner, and the decline helped boost oil prices.

U.S. stocks gave up gains and closed slightly lower.

U.S. energy shares initially were among the biggest gainers on Wall Street as crude prices rebounded on the weak dollar. The euro rose more than 1 percent and the dollar index, a gauge of the greenback against six major currencies, lost almost as much.

Gold rose for a fourth day to a two-week high, while London copper prices hit their highest since Jan. 9. A weaker dollar boosts the purchasing power of commodity buyers paying with other currencies.

Traders and investors are focused on when the Fed will tighten policy, viewed as most likely in September or October.

The dollar added to its steepest weekly drop in 3-1/2 years after a Fed statement last week suggested a less-aggressive timetable for hiking interest rates, leading the greenback to suffer its worst week against the euro since late 2011.

"There's a very large long-dollar position in the market, and what we appear to be facing is an unwind of that position," said Richard Cochinos, head of Americas G10 FX strategy at Citi in New York.

A Fed rate hike is "widely expected" this year, though the path for subsequent policy moves will be on a meeting-by-meeting basis, Fed Vice Chair Stanley Fischer said on Monday.

MSCI's all-country world index .MIWD00000PUS, a measure of equity performance in 46 countries, rose 0.23 percent. But Wall Street retreated after spending most of the session higher.

The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed down 11.61 points, or 0.06 percent, to 18,116.04. The S&P 500 .SPX fell 3.68 points, or 0.17 percent, to 2,104.42 and the NasdaqComposite .IXIC lost 15.44 points, or 0.31 percent, to 5,010.97.

"This market is somewhere between trying to decide the interest rate, oil, dollar question while we await earnings. There's no real earnings out to give it any footing. It's just been drifting back and forth," said Rick Meckler, president of LibertyView Capital Management LLC in Jersey City, New Jersey.

European shares slid from multi-year highs as a new bout of worries concerning Greece's debt negotiations led investors to book profits on the equity market's solid start to 2015.

The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top regional shares closed down 0.66 percent at 1,600.24. All major country indexes in Europe fell, with Germany's DAX .GDAXIsliding 1.2 percent. The DAX hit a record high last week and is still up 21 percent so far this year.

U.S. Treasuries prices rose amid Greek-inspired investor anxiety and talks about the terms of a 240-billion-euro bailout for the cash-strapped country.

Benchmark 10-year Treasuries notes US10YT=RR were up 5/32 in price to yield 1.9112 percent.

The euro strengthened against the dollar despite comments by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi on the bank's bond-buying stimulus plan, which tends to weaken the single currency.

The euro was last up 1.19 percent against the dollar at $1.0949 EUR=, not far from a nearly two-week high of $1.10625 hit last week. The dollar was last down 0.23 percent against the Japanese yen at 119.75 yen JPY=.

The dollar index .DXY fell 1.0 percent to 96.93.

Oil rose to almost $56 a barrel as a weaker dollar offset concerns over the global oversupply after Saudi Arabia indicated it was pumping near a record high of 10 million barrels per day.

Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 rose 60 cents to settle at $55.92 a barrel. U.S. crude CLc1 settled 88 cents higher at $47.45.

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