We're seeing decent gains in stock markets again on Wednesday, with the strong sell-off at the start of the week not quite the deterrent some feared.

To put things into perspective, we're basically back at Friday's close but importantly, we are seeing real resilience after a troubling start to the week. The Delta variant remains an ever-present downside risk for the markets in the near-term but as long as inflation remains only a temporary problem, it also keeps central bank hawks at bay. And we know how investors love that.

Momentum has been easing as we've moved into the summer so it's perhaps no surprise to see a small corrective move on the back of some negative Covid headlines. The fact that the FTSE held above 6,800 is encouraging, a close back above 7,000 would be even more so after just falling short today. But even in the absence of that, there doesn't appear to be anything to panic about at this stage.

Earnings season is off to a solid start, with results beating bumper expectations in the second quarter. The positivity that's driving is clearly offsetting fears about another wave for now, aided no doubt by belief in the vaccine to stop surges turning into severe lockdowns in most cases.

Oil survives inventory scare

Oil is getting more love today, with WTI moving back above $70 a barrel . Monday's growth fears were seemingly overdone and a move above $70, should it close there, could be a very bullish signal. A move back above here takes out previous support and overcomes a potential psychological barrier.

The EIA inventory report initially sent prices lower but they rebounded quickly, with fuel demand still seemingly very strong and risk appetite providing further support.  

Delta poses a clear risk to the near-term outlook as countries re-impose restrictions or maintain them for longer but as we've seen throughout, OPEC+ is ready to be flexible as and when it's necessary.

Gold consolidating around $1,800

Gold is hovering back around $1,800, with the improvement in risk appetite and higher US yields weighing. The dollar is trading a little lower after making small gains earlier on the back of those higher yields.

The yellow metal has been consolidating around these levels for the last couple of weeks and, despite some activity at times, nothing much has changed. We seem to have entered a wait-and-see phase in a number of different assets and wouldn't be surprised to see it continue for much of the summer.

Bitcoin's resilience paying off

Bitcoin's resilience on Tuesday appears to be paying dividends, with the cryptocurrency making strong gains and back above $30,000. Whether that will last or inspire further gains, we'll have to wait and see. The trend prior to the breakout wasn't favourable so the path of least resistance still looks below but a move above $32,000 could be an encouraging sign.  

This article is for general information purposes only. It is not investment advice or a solution to buy or sell securities.

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