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Oil prices zoom higher; US-China trade talks; Bitcoin surges

London (CNN Business)1. Oil zooms higher: Crude oil futures were on track for a fourth consecutive positive trading session on Wednesday.

US futures added 0.3% to trade at $62.70 per barrel, pushing gains for this year to 38%. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 0.8% to just under $70 per barrel.
“With output falling for a fourth month thanks to continued OPEC production cuts and sanction on Iran and Venezuela, oil prices are well supported,” said Fiona Cincotta, analyst at City Index, a broker.
Recent positive manufacturing news from China has also eased fears of a dramatic slowdown in the world’s second largest economy. Weak growth in China would have reduced demand for oil.
The US Energy Information Administration will release a report on crude inventories at 10:30 a.m. ET.
2. Trade talks: Sensitive trade negotiations between the United States and China are set to resume on Wednesday.
China’s Vice Premier Liu He is traveling to Washington with a delegation of trade negotiators just days after another set of discussions wrapped up in Beijing.
There have been positive signs about a potential deal in recent days.
China said this week that it would add fentanyl-related substances to its list of controlled drugs from May 1, fulfilling a pledge that Chinese President Xi Jinping had made to US President Donald Trump.
3. Brexit chaos: The British pound has rallied after Prime Minister Theresa May said she would implement any Brexit deal that was agreed by a majority in the UK parliament.
May also said she would ask the European Union for another short extension to Brexit, and work with opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn to find a compromise.
The pound increased 0.4% against the dollar on Wednesday to trade at $1.31.
The political situation in the United Kingdom remains highly uncertain. It’s not clear whether the European Union will grant a short extension to Brexit, and there’s still no consensus in Britain on how to exit the bloc.
4. Bitcoin surge: Bitcoin prices shot up 15% Tuesday, briefly topping $5,000 for the first time since November.
Analysts were scratching their heads trying to find a reason for the spike.
Nigel Green, founder and chief executive of wealth management firm deVere Group, said in a report that “there is a growing sense that Bitcoin is back.”
Green added that “this dramatic jump is likely to attract many investors who have been sitting on the sidelines,” including big institutions.
5. Global market overview: US stock futures were pointing higher.
European markets opened with gains, following a positive trading session in Asia.
The Dow Jones industrial average closed down 0.3% on Tuesday. The S&P 500 was flat, and the Nasdaq gained 0.3%.
6. Companies and economics: US non-manufacturing composite PMI will be published at 10:00 a.m. ET.
Shares of Walgreens (WBA) dropped 12.8% after the drug store giant reported earnings and sales that missed forecasts.
Shares in fashion retailer Superdry plunged almost 12% in London after co-founder Julian Dunkerton won his bid to rejoin the company as a director, prompting the board to quit.
7. Coming this week:
Wednesday — US ISM services
ThursdayConstellation Brand (STZ)earnings; Reserve Bank of India rate decision
Friday — US March jobs report; EU finance ministers meet

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