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Markets: Oil and stocks pick up; Dax reaches record high

● European stocks firmer, Dax hits record, S&P futures gain ground
● Brent near $52 a barrel after Russia and Saudi pledge more output cuts
● Dollar dips
● Gold gains ground, but some buyers start shying away

Oil prices are rebounding to a two-week high after the energy ministers of Saudi Arabia and Russia released a joint statement in which they said production cuts by major oil producers should be extended until March 2018.

Brent crude, the international benchmark, is up 2 per cent to $51.85 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate, the main US contract, is gaining 2 per cent to $48.80.

What to watch
Top tier economic data are thin on the ground on Monday, but the latest snapshot of regional US manufacturing activity and the country’s housing market should pique investors’ interest.

The New York Fed Empire State manufacturing index is due for release at 13:30 BST, with economists expecting it to rise from 5.2 in April to 7.0 this month. Shortly afterwards, the NAHB housebuilder sentiment survey is expected to show an unchanged reading of 68.

The rally in oil prices is helping support the shares of energy companies, thus underpinning many equity benchmarks.

US index futures suggest the S&P 500 will gain 5 points to 2,396, leaving the Wall Street barometer just 5 points shy of a record close.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 is up 0.2 per cent as the mining sector adds 1.4 per cent and oil explorers gain 0.8 per cent. Germany’s Dax is climbing 0.3 per cent to a record high of 12,812.

Forex
Sterling is adding 0.3 per cent to $1.2931 — just shy of a seven-month high — as investors continue to try and price in the likely economic impact of Brexit and next month’s general election

The Australian dollar is striving to recover from last week’s four-month low — which came amid declining commodity prices — climbing 0.4 per cent to $0.7414 and on pace for a fourth straight day of gains.

Commodities
Gold is up 0.3 per cent to $1,232 an ounce, but traders seem to be getting less bullish on the precious metal.

According to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, speculators have trimmed their net-long gold position to its lowest in six weeks. Silver and copper longs were slashed, too.

Additional reporting by Peter Wells in Hong Kong