Would higher oil_prices steepen the yield_curve and help the banks?

Ideally, a rise in the price of oil, resulting from improvement in worldwide economic conditions, would increase inflation expectations and also pull up long-term interest rates. This could steepen the yield curve, or at least displace it upwards. All other things being equal, bank shares would benefit and their poor performance of the last few weeks would turn around. Even though higher interest rates would penalize a certain number of sensitive sectors, the breath of fresh air for the banking sector would restore some appetite for risk which has recently been lacking.

More realistically, i.e. with an economy well into the expansion phase, there is little chance this series of events would last. It is not even sure they would have the time to develop in the first place, despite some indications to the contrary over the past few days.

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Not much on offer to take advantage of a potential upturn in the European market

After taking a beating over the past few days, European equities should be well placed to take advantage of a rebound in world markets. Most specialists expect one, despite the instability of the past few days. In theory, all of the factors necessary for outperformance are in place: European stocks lag their worldwide counterparts, bond yields are still mostly negative on maturities up to five years – the lowest on the planet – and the economic outlook is favorable.

That said, with the German market relatively dear, bank stocks still suffering from low interest rates and many sectors well on their way to making up their lag, the range of attractive investments is limited. It’s not yet clear that Europe will fare better than the other regions of the world.

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