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BLBG: Oil Gains Lift U.S. Stocks as Pound Down on Brexit: Markets Wrap
 
Dollar and crude advance; Treasuries rise as gold steady
South African rand pares drop on support for finance minister

Oil extended gains after inventories rose less than forecast, giving U.S. stocks a boost in efforts to add to the biggest rally in two weeks. The pound weakened as the U.K. started its exit from the EU.

The S&P 500 Index reached highs of the day after government data sent U.S. crude above $49 a barrel. Treasuries rose as the Trump administration battled to revive its legislative agenda, while the pound fell after Britain formally triggered its exit from the European Union. The South African rand trimmed its decline as political wrangling roiled local markets.

Global stocks remain on course for a fifth straight month of gains as the reflation trade triggered by Trump’s election proves its resilience. Stronger growth -- from the world’s biggest economy to developing nations -- has helped underpin the rally, even amid doubts about the president’s ability to enact pro-growth policies. Federal Reserve officials continue to make the case for two more rate hikes in 2017.

“Trump and markets are moving on, with the help of better U.S. data,” Societe Generale SA strategists, led by Ciaran O’Hagan, wrote in a client note, referring to the rebound in risk appetite after last week’s failed health-care bill curbed reflation bets.

Markets showed little reaction to the U.K.’s formal triggering of Brexit as the move had been broadly telegraphed. Still, the divorce will redefine the country’s relationship with its largest trading partner and end decades of deepening political integration on the continent.

Read our Markets Live blog here.

Here are this week’s key events:

Proposals to design and build U.S. President Donald Trump’s promised 2,000-mile border wall between the U.S. and Mexico are due.
Samsung Electronics Co. will introduce its Galaxy S8 smartphone, the company’s first
new mobile phone since the debacle with the Note 7 battery fires that led to its recall.
Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The S&P 500 added 0.1 percent to 2,360.38 as of 10:35 a.m. in New York. The index rallied 0.7 percent Tuesday, with banks surging.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.1 percent to trade at the highest level in eight days.
The MSCI Emerging Market Index slipped 0.1 percent. The measure is headed for a gain of 3.6 percent in March.
Currencies

The British pound fell 0.4 percent to $1.2407, while the euro weakened 0.6 percent to $1.0746.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was 0.2 percent higher.
South Africa’s rand pared its decline to 0.2 percent.
Bonds

European bonds advanced, with the yield on Germany’s 10-year bunds falling four basis points to 0.35 percent.
Treasuries gained, with the yield on the benchmark note due in a decade falling two basis points to 2.4 percent. The yield advanced four basis points Tuesday.
Commodities

West-Texas Intermediate crude oil rose 1.4 percent to $49.05, extending Tuesday’s 1.3 percent advance as an unexpected disruption in Libyan crude output helps investors shrug off record U.S. stockpiles.
Gold rose 0.1 percent to $1,252.91.
Asia

The MSCI Asia Pacific Excluding Japan Index rose 0.4 percent, with Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index and New Zealand’s S&P/NZX 50 adding at least 0.9 percent. Japan’s Topix Index fell as more than 1,500 of its constituent companies traded without the right to their latest dividend.
Source