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Australian firm says its nasal spray reduced coronavirus growth in animal study - Investing.com
Australian firm says its nasal spray reduced coronavirus growth in animal study
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australian biotech company Ena Respiratory said on Monday that a nasal spray it is developing to improve the human immune system to fight common cold and flu significantly reduced the growth of the coronavirus in a recent study on animals. A study on ferrets showed the product dubbed INNA-051, which could be used complementary to vaccines, lowered the levels of the virus that causes COVID-19 by up to 96%, the company said. The study was led by British government agency Public Health England. Ena Respiratory said it would be ready to test INNA-051 in human trials in less than four months, subject to successful toxicity studies and regulatory approval. The company has raised A$11.7 million ($8.24 million) for the development of the spray. Investors include venture capital firm Brandon Capital Ltd, the Australian federal government, pension funds and biotech giant CSL Ltd (AX:CSL). Several companies across the world are in the pursuit of developing a coronavirus vaccine. Australia has entered into agreements with some drug companies investing billions to secure potential vaccines for COVID-19, which has killed over 992,000 people worldwide. Australia has so far reported 875 deaths and just over 27,000 coronavirus cases, far less than the numbers reported in other developed countries.
Dollar rises after Fed's upbeat economic outlook - Investing.com
Dollar rises after Fed's upbeat economic outlook
By Eimi Yamamitsu TOKYO (Reuters) - The dollar edged up against major currencies on Thursday following the U.S. Federal Reserve's upbeat assessment of the economic recovery and as its increased tolerance for higher inflation push bond yields higher. At its policy meeting, the Fed pledged to keep rates near zero until the labour market reaches "maximum employment" and inflation is on track to "moderately exceed" the 2% inflation target. The Fed also expects economic growth to improve from the coronavirus-induced drop they projected in June. The dollar index rose 0.2% against six major currencies to trade at 93.389 (=USD), while changing hands at 1.1777 against the euro (EUR=EBS). The greenback initially fell after the Feds announcement, and weaker-than-expected U.S. retail sales data, but swung into postive territory after Chair Jerome Powell's comment on economic outlook. "The dollar shifted a little, but the market overall did not show a huge reaction," said Shinichiro Kadota, senior strategist at Baraclays. "Besides the presidential election, I think the focus will be on the U.S. fiscal support, which (Fed Chair Jerome) Powell also said is essential. The Congress is still struggling with stimulus talks, and markets are eyeing if that would be resolved." The safe-haven Japanese yen changed hands at 105.035 against the greenback, a fraction below a 2 1/2-month high of 104.81 marked overnight. The Bank of Japan is due to conclude its first meeting after Yoshihide Suga, a long-time aide of Shinzo Abe who pledged to continue "Abenomics" to recover employment, was officially elected as Japan's new prime minister on Wednesday. Market participants will focus on BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda's remarks about how the central bank would coordinate monetary policy with the new Suga administration. Elsewhere, the Chinese yuan in offshore trade was near the 16-month high of 6.7652 per dollar it hit after strong retail sales and industrial output data on Tuesday. The focus for sterling is now on Brexit tensions, following the British government's deal on Wednesday to avert a rebellion in Prime Minister Boris Johnson's own party, giving parliament a say over the use of post-Brexit powers. The pound was last at $1.2933 , having dropped more than 3.5% against the greenback and the euro last week. Against the euro, it changed hands at 0.91025 pence per euro, near a 5-1/2 month low it hit earlier this week (EURGBP=D3). The Bank of England is likely to signal that it is getting ready to pump more stimulus into Britain's coronavirus-hit economy at its policy decision due later in the day. The kiwi traded 0.3% below at $0.6714, after data showed New Zealand fell into its deepest slump on record as the coronavirus outbreak paralysed business activity. The Australian dollar traded at $0.7304 after the countrys jobs data showed employment rose in August.
Google sets unprecedented goal to tap only renewable power by 2030 - Investing.com
Google aims to run on carbon-free energy by 2030
By Paresh Dave OAKLAND, Calif. (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc's (O:GOOGL) Google aims to power its data centers and offices 24-7 using solely carbon-free electricity by 2030, its chief executive told Reuters, building on its previous goal of matching its energy use with 100% renewable energy. The "stretch goal," as CEO Sundar Pichai described it, will force Google to move beyond the tech industry norm of offseting carbon emissions from electricity use and require technological and political breakthroughs to achieve. "The problem is so immense, many of us need to lead the way and show solutions," Pichai said. "Were one small player in this but we can set an example." Wildfires burning a record area in the western United States this month have increased public awareness of climate change, Pichai said, and Google wants to bring further attention through its new goal as well as product features. Wind, solar and other renewable sources accounted for 61% of Google's global hourly electricity usage last year. The proportion varied by facility, with carbon-free sources fulfilling 96% of hourly power needs at Google's wind-swept Oklahoma data center compared with 3% at its gas-reliant Singapore operation. But Google, which consumes slightly more power annually worldwide than residents and businesses in Delaware, has grown optimistic that it can bridge the gap with batteries to store solar power overnight, emerging sources such as geothermal reservoirs and better management of power needs. "To plan 24/7 hourly being carbon-free in our data centers and campuses around the world, we see an enormous logistics challenge, which is why we've been hard at work modeling the last year how to get there," Pichai said. "And we feel confident we can get there by 2030." He declined to share the likely cost of achieving the goal. Big Google rivals including Microsoft Corp (O:MSFT) and Amazon.com Inc (O:AMZN) have targeted removing more carbon from the atmosphere than they emit over the coming decades, but none of them have publicly set a goal to stop sourcing carbon-based energy. But the companies share a common goal of catalyzing businesses and governments to curb climate pollution before 2030, when scientists say global warming could become catastrophic if unchecked. Jennifer Layke, global director at research group World Resources Institute, which has received Google funding, said the company inspired others in the United States and Europe over the last decade but its efforts must now spur action in crucial polluting regions such as China, India, Indonesia and Vietnam. "If we can't shift from carbon, we will suffer the firestorms and the droughts," she said. Google has been carbon-neutral since 2007, meaning it has planted trees, bought carbon credits and funded large amounts of wind power in places where it is abundant to offset its tapping of coal and natural gas power in other regions. It also said Monday that its estimated 1 million metric tons of emissions between 2006 and its 1998 launch now have been offset. The company's new goals include bringing 5 gigawatts of renewable energy near some suppliers, funding tree planting beyond its offset needs and sharing data or forging partnerships with 500 governments around the world to try to cut 1 gigaton of carbon emissions annually by 2030. Google said it would continue to offset carbon emissions unrelated to electricity use, such as from employee travel. Its carbon-free electricity goal satisfies one demand of 2,000 Google employees who last November petitioned the company to stop selling data storage and other cloud computing tools to oil companies and funding think tanks or politicians who deny the existence of climate change. Pichai said the company would continue to "support everyone" with its cloud services and help oil and gas companies transition to tapping other sources. (This story corrects to read "carbon-free" in headline, paragraph 1)
Dow Stumbles as Tech Rebound Loses Steam; Stalemate on Stimulus Continues - Investing.com
Dow Stumbles as Tech Rebound Loses Steam; Stalemate on Stimulus Continues
By Yasin Ebrahim Investing.com Wall Street fell Thursday, as the rebound in tech ran out of steam, while signs of a slowdown in the labor market raised concerns about the strength of the recovery at a time when the Republican stimulus package failed to win enough votes in the Senate to proceed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.31%, or 86 points. The S&P 500 was down 0.30%, while the Nasdaq Composite traded flat after falling 10% in just under a week, the fastest correction on record. Tech struggled to hold onto its momentum from a strong rebound a day earlier, with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) paring gains to trade lower as investors seemingly take profit on the stock ahead of the new iPhone launch expected next month. The other four stocks that make up the Fab 5 traded mixed, with Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) higher, while Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) traded below the flatline. Zscaler (NASDAQ:ZS) sidestepped the broader weakness in tech after the cloud cybersecurity company posted results that topped estimates on both the top and bottom lines, sending its shares up 1%. Energy led the pace move lower, falling nearly 2% as oil prices slipped after U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly rose last week, renewing worries about the strength of demand. Investor sentiment was also hurt by worries about consumer spending as U.S. lawmakers failed to find a way to break the deadlock on stimulus talks at a time when job growth appears to be slowing. The Republican coronavirus stimulus plan failed to get the votes needed to advance in the Senate, CNBC reported. The Labor Department said the number of first-time filers for unemployment benefits came in at 884,000 for the week ended Aug. 29, missing economists' forecast for a fall to 850,000. "Alongside the stalling in initial claims for regular state unemployment benefits, claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance rose by a hefty 91K, the fourth straight increase, so total initial claims increased," Pantheon Macroeconomic said. Elsewhere, airlines were sharply higher on hopes that the aviation industry is set to receive more federal aid. Senate Republican John Cornyn on Wednesday pledged to push Congress to include more fiscal support in the stimulus bill. American Airlines (NASDAQ:AAL) rose 1%, Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL) was up 2% and United Airlines (NASDAQ:UAL) climbed 3%.
With big tech on holiday, world shares inch higher - Investing.com
With big tech on holiday, world shares inch higher
By Thyagaraju Adinarayan LONDON (Reuters) - World shares inched higher led by Europe on Monday, after last week's rout in U.S. technology stocks that saw $2.3 trillion in value wiped off in two days with investors taking note of lofty valuations when the global economy is still in a recession. Market activity was likely to remain subdued for the rest of the day with the U.S. closed for the Labor Day holiday, though Nasdaq futures fell a further 1%. "This market rally may likely pause given stretched valuations," said Stephane Ekolo, an equity strategist at TFS Derivatives in London. "If earnings do not improve materially, investors might well need to buckle up and expect a correction." European bourses, which have fewer technology stocks compared with the United States, started the week in the black, driven by a 1.6% gain in Germany's DAX and London's FTSE 100. UK bluechip stocks, many of which derive much of their profits overseas, were also helped by a falling pound, with Brexit talks plunging into crisis following Britain's threat to override its EU divorce deal. Sterling fell around half a percent against the dollar and euro on Monday. "It is almost inevitable that the perceived probability of 'no deal' will escalate over the coming weeks," Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) analysts wrote in a note. The tech sell-off showed no signs of abating as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), the poster child of the euphoria in U.S. big technology stocks, fell 4.5% in Frankfurt after it was excluded from a group of companies that were being added to the S&P 500. U.S.-heavy MSCI world shares index was up 0.3%. The index had hit a record high last week, driven by unprecedented central bank stimulus, but the rally fizzled out last week amid worries over heady valuations and a patchy economic recovery. "Our risk indices have begun to turn from their euphoria highs," Jefferies (NYSE:JEF) said, adding that it was switching its weighting on the MSCI All-World index to "tactically bearish" in the short term. "On the balance of probabilities, last week's correction has further room to go." In Asia, China's blue-chip index slipped 2.3% as the possible U.S. blacklisting of China's largest chip maker, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC), hit tech firms across the board. TENTATIVE MOOD The mood across Asian markets was tentative. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was last down 0.2% after two straight days of losses toppled it from a 2-1/2-year peak last week. Data earlier on Monday showed Chinese imports fell 2.1% in August from a year earlier, confounding expectations for a 0.1% increase, in a sign of sluggish domestic demand. Exports jumped by a larger-than-expected 9.5%. Japan's Nikkei fell 0.5% with SoftBank coming under heavy selling pressure following media reports it has spent at least $4 billion buying call options on listed U.S. technology stocks. In currency markets, the dollar index gained 0.1% in holiday-thinned trade on Monday, while traders shifted their focus to the European Central Bank's meeting on Thursday. Most analysts don't expect a change in policy stance. The dollar was flat against the yen at 106.28 ahead of a heavy week of macroeconomic data with figures on household spending, current account and gross domestic product due on Tuesday. The message the ECB will deliver on its inflation forecasts is likely to set the direction for the euro, which has surged in the past few months. European government bonds yields rose across the board on Monday on signs of an improved global economy and ahead of a week of healthy supply, as countries seek bond markets to help fund the response to the COVID-19 crisis. In commodities, oil prices hit their lowest since July, after Saudi Arabia made the deepest monthly price cuts for supply to Asia in five months. U.S. crude fell 1.3% to $39.25 a barrel. Brent crude skidded to $42.11. Fading optimism about a recovery in demand amid the coronavirus pandemic also hung heavy.
Stocks - Wall Street Opens Mixed as Rally Runs out of Steam - Investing.com
Stocks - Wall Street Opens Mixed as Rally Runs out of Steam
By Geoffrey Smith Investing.com -- U.S. stock markets opened mixed on Friday, paring premarket losses but unable to find the strength to advance further after a record-breaking week. By 9:35 AM ET (1335 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 12 points or less than 0.1% at 27,650 points. The S&P 500, which had set its first new record high since February earlier in the week and the Nasdaq Composite, which posted the latest of its 35 new record high closes this week, were both down by similar amounts. Such data as were published Friday were mildly supportive, with IHS Markit's PMIs for the manufacturing and services sectors both coming in ahead of expectations for August. Existing home sales data for August are due at 10 AM ET. There was little to get excited about on a slow summer news day - with a few exceptions. Solid earnings from agricultural machinery maker Deere (NYSE:DE) & Co., often seen as a proxy for the health of the farming sector, sent the stock up 4.7% to a new all-time high. Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock, meanwhile, cracked the $2,000 level for the first time ever ahead of its stock split. As with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)'s $2 trillion valuation posted earlier in the week, the number is of little significance beyond the fact that it's a nice round number. Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) stock fell 0.5% after news that its consumer head Jeff Wilke is to retire. The biggest immediate threat to stocks - from rising bond yields - has petered out in the second half of the week, with the yield on the 10-Year Treasury note falling to 0.64% from a high of 0.72% a week ago. However, the negative tone from other markets - Crude Oil Futures lost over 2% in early trading on worries about global demand - kept a cap on risk appetite. The miserly yields on offer from bonds are one factor likely to support the stock market even if there is a new setback to the economy, argued Robeco portfolio manager Jeroen Blokland in a weekly blog post. "Valuation is a relative concept," Blokland said. "Government bonds, for example, are currently a lot more expensive" than equities. He noted, however, that there is "no shortage of catalysts" on the horizon that could change market sentiment. "The low-hanging fruit in the recovery has been harvested, labor markets remain weak and the run-up to U.S. elections may also lead to greater volatility on equity markets," Blokland argued. "That's why we prefer to huddle fairly close to the exit; to ensure that when sentiment turns, and valuation is used as a stick to beat the dog, we are not trampled underfoot by other investors who are also all charging for the door at the same time."
Oil prices mixed as coronavirus spike casts shadow over U.S. demand - Investing.com
Oil prices mixed as coronavirus spike casts shadow over U.S. demand
By Florence Tan SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Oil prices offered up a mixed market snapshot on Monday, with Brent crude edging higher, supported by tighter supplies, while U.S. benchmark WTI futures dropped on concern that a spike in coronavirus cases could curb oil demand in the United States. Brent crude (LCOc1) rose 18 cents, or 0.4%, to $42.98 a barrel by 0252 GMT after a 4.3% gain last week, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude (CLc1) was at $40.42, down 23 cents, or 0.6%, from its previous settlement on Thursday. U.S. markets were closed on Friday to mark July 4 holiday celebrations. Amid rising numbers of coronavirus cases in 39 U.S. states, a Reuters tally showed that in the first four days of July alone, 15 states reported record increases in new COVID-19 infections with parties over the holiday weekend possibly leading to another spike. "There will be some kind of decline in demand if cases were to increase as people will stay at home," said Howie Lee, an economist at Singapore's OCBC bank. "The pace of U.S. demand recovery will not be as steep as expected." For now, analysts at ING bank said data for several cities in affected states show no significant reduction in road traffic week-on-week. "We will get a better idea of what impact tighter restrictions in several states have had on gasoline demand with the EIA (Energy Information Administration) report this week," ING said in a note. The implied volatility for Brent crude has dropped to the lowest since prices started collapsing in March as some in the market remain focused on tightening supplies as production by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) fell to its lowest in decades with Russian output dropped to near targeted cuts. OPEC and allies including Russia, collectively known as OPEC+, have pledged to slash production by a record 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd) for a third month in July. After July, the cuts are due to taper to 7.7 million bpd until December. U.S. production, the world's largest, is also falling. The number of operating U.S. oil and natural gas rigs fell to an all-time low for a ninth week, although the reductions have slowed as higher oil prices prompt some producers to start drilling again.
Oil Plunges 8% on Fears of 2nd Virus Wave, Long Recovery Phase - Investing.com
Oil Plunges 8% on Fears of 2nd Virus Wave, Long Recovery Phase
By Barani Krishnan Investing.com - Oil prices fell as much 8% on Thursday in their sharpest selloff in six weeks amid fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections in the United States and indications from the Federal Reserve that the economy could struggle for another two years at least from the pandemic. Data showing U.S. crude stockpiles at 3-year highs and Wall Streets 3% plunge on Thursday added to investors concerns. Prior to Thursdays slump, crude prices had a near unbroken run higher for six weeks, with the U.S. West Texas Intermediate benchmark gaining some 300% from April lows and global benchmark Brent rising about 170%. If the increase in coronavirus cases becomes a second wave, then a potential reversal in the demand gains could be had, said Price Futures Group analyst Phil Flynn, whos typically bullish on oil. New York-traded WTI was down $3.04, or nearly 8%, at $36.56 per barrel by 11:00 AM ET (15:00 GMT). It hit 3-month highs of $40.44 on Monday, climbing from just over $10 a barrel on April 28. London-traded Brent slumped $2.85, or almost 7%, to $38.88. It rose to 3-month highs of $43.41 at the start of the week. The rebound in crude over the past six weeks were driven by cuts in oil rigs and well shutdowns in U.S. oil producing patches. Global supply reductions of up to 9.7 million barrels per day targeted by OPEC also helped. Thursdays slump came as total U.S. Covid-19 cases topped 2 million, with a jump in cases reported in Florida, Texas and Arizona after five weeks of declines across the country. The potential for a second wave of infections from the Covid-19 virus across the U.S. could prompt another partial shutdown. Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell said on Wednesday the central bank might leave U.S. interest rates at near zero until the end of 2022. That spooked investors into thinking that economic recovery from the pandemic could take much longer than thought, despite an encouraging rebound of 2.5 million jobs in May. Overall, Covid-19-related job losses total about 20 million jobs. Powells remarks sunk Wall Street on Thursday, with the Dow plunging 1,000 points or nearly 4%, some 90 minutes after its open. Adding to the concerns of oil investors were U.S. commercial crude oil inventories, which grew by 5.72 million barrels last week, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. This increase now sees total U.S. commercial crude oil inventories stand at 538 million barrels, surpassing the levels seen back in early 2017, and in fact the highest level going as far back as 1982, analysts at ING wrote in a research note. The EIA data on crude stockpiles was released on Wednesday, but did not make much of an impact in the previous days trading in oil.
Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Monday, June 1st - Investing.com
Top 5 Things to Know in the Market on Monday, June 1st
By Peter Nurse Investing.com -- America is on edge as protests against police brutality, some turning violent, continue throughout the nation, while tensions between China and the U.S. continue to escalate. The oil industry is also in focus with OPEC potentially meeting early to discuss further output cuts. And there's the May U.S. ISM manufacturing PMI data to study. Here's what you need to know in financial markets on Monday, 1st June. 1. U.S. on edge; protests turn violent What started as a peaceful demonstration against police killings of black people after the death of George Floyd as he was restrained by Minneapolis police officers has turned into violent protests that have ravaged cities from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and flared near the White House. Pressure is mounting on President Donald Trump, as he faces accusations of inciting racial violence as he appeared to call on his supporters to counter-protest outside the White House. He has also said the U.S. will designate the far-left Antifa group a 'terrorist organisation'. The turmoil was a fresh setback for the economy which was only just emerging from a downturn akin to the Great Depression. Following poor data on spending and trade out on Friday, the Atlanta Federal Reserve estimated economic output could drop a staggering 51% annualised in the second quarter. 2. Trump pulls back from the edge with China, for now Financial markets tuned in nervously to President Trumps response Friday to Chinas decision to impose a national security law on Hong Kong. In the end, the president said he would strip Hong Kong of its special status with the U.S., but didnt renounce the recently signed trade deal with China, as the market had feared. Still, relations between the two economic superpowers are particularly tense, and such a move cant be ruled out in the future, especially as the U.S. presidential election draws nearer. Bloomberg reported Monday that Chinese government officials have told major state-run agricultural firms to pause purchases of some American farm goods, including soybeans, as Beijing looks to evaluate the recent escalation in tensions between the two nations. If Trump wants to increase his chances of beating Biden in November, then he needs to turn even tougher than China than he currently is, said analysts at Nordea, in a research note. 3. Stocks set to open lower; Goldman turns more positive U.S. stock markets are set to open a little lower, after posting a positive month in May. Continuing disturbances throughout the country on top of heightened tensions with China will likely weigh on the market ahead of the release of ISM manufacturing PMI data. By 6:30 AM ET (1030 GMT), the Dow Jones 30 futures contract was down 26 points or 0.1%, while the S&P 500 futures contract was down 0.2% and the Nasdaq 100 futures contract was down 0.4%. Still, on a more positive note, Goldman Sachs has abandoned its call for another steep sell-off. The investment bank has rolled back its prediction that the S&P 500 would slump to the 2,400 level -- over 20% below Fridays 3,044 close -- and now see downside risks capped at 2,750. The U.S. equity benchmark could even rally further to 3,200. The powerful rebound means our previous three-month target of 2,400 is unlikely to be realized, the strategists wrote. Monetary and fiscal policy support limit likely downside to roughly 10%. Investor positioning has oscillated between neutral and low and is a possible 5% upside catalyst. In Asia, the benchmark Nikkei index gained 0.8%. In Europe, with Germany closed for a June 1 public holiday, the FTSE 100 in London and the CAC 40 in Paris both rose 1%. 4. ISM Manufacturing PMI on the data slate This week will see little of Federal Reserve officials as they are now in the traditional blackout period ahead of their next policy meeting later this month, but there will be plenty of economic data to study. Friday sees the important nonfarm payrolls release, but ahead of that comes ISM Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index for May, at 10 AM ET. This is expected to show an improvement in sentiment in the manufacturing sector, with the index expected to climb to 43.0 from 41.5 in April, as parts of the U.S. economy started to emerge from the lockdown. However, an improvement isnt a given. Nordea said, in a research note, that it wouldnt be a surprise to see an even weaker reading in May, citing a disappointing Weekly Economic Index release from the New York Fed as well as the April index having not dropped as much as had been expected. The news from Europe wasn't particularly encouraging, as although manufacturers in the euro zone appear to have passed their nadir, activity is still contracting sharply. 5. OPEC meeting this week? Oil prices have been on the tear of late, with the front-month Brent and WTI contracts posting their strongest monthly gains in years in May as crude production by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, a grouping known as OPEC+, dropped to its lowest level in two decades. To solidify this change in sentiment, Algeria, which currently holds the OPEC presidency, has proposed that an OPEC+ meeting planned for June 9-10 be brought forward to this Thursday. One of the topics of discussion will likely be an extension of the current cuts of 9.7 million barrels a day for between one to two months. Under the current deal, the group is scheduled to reduce the scale of cuts to 7.7 million barrels a day from July. A shorter period may make an extension more palatable to the Russians, who were not keen to extend current cuts through until the end of this year, which was reportedly suggested by other members of the deal, said ING, in a research note to clients.
Oil prices claw back losses as storage fills less rapidly than feared - Investing.com
Oil prices claw back losses as storage fills less rapidly than feared
By Sonali Paul MELBOURNE (Reuters) - U.S. oil prices jumped on Wednesday, trimming some of this week's losses, after U.S. stockpiles rose less than expected and on expectations demand will increase as some European countries and U.S. cities moved to ease coronavirus lockdowns. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude (CLc1) futures climbed to a high of $14.40 a barrel and were up 15.4%, or $1.90, at $14.24 at 0233 GMT, paring a 27% plunge over the first two days of this week. Brent crude (LCOc1) futures rose 4.6%, or 93 cents, to $21.39 a barrel, adding to a 2.3% gain on Tuesday. U.S. crude inventories rose by 10 million barrels to 510 million barrels in the week to April 24, data from industry group the American Petroleum Institute showed on Tuesday, compared with analysts' expectations for a build of 10.6 million barrels. "It's a little bit of good news that maybe storages aren't filling quite as quickly in the U.S. as you would have thought," said Lachlan Shaw, head of commodity research at National Australia Bank (OTC:NABZY) in Melbourne. The market will get another read on U.S. inventories when the U.S. Energy Information Administration releases weekly data later on Wednesday. [EIA/S] While storage is rapidly filling up, production cuts by U.S. shale producers, estimated by consultants Rystad Energy at 300,000 barrels per day (bpd) for May and June, should help slow flows into tanks. The United States is now the world's biggest oil producer. Regulators in the U.S. state of Texas, the country's biggest oil producer, will hold a vote on May 5 on whether to enact output curtailments. Officials in the states of North Dakota and Oklahoma are also examining ways to legally allow output cuts. That would add to production cuts of almost 10 million bpd agreed by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other large producers including Russia, or about 10% of global production, due to take effect from May 1. At the same time, hopes for at least some demand recovery put a floor under oil prices, following two days of selling in June contracts by exchange-traded funds looking to avoid the extreme volatility which hit WTI last week. "The other thing coming through is more detail and a louder groundswell towards plans for removing COVID restrictions, particularly in Europe -- in countries like Spain, France, Austria and Switzerland. That's going to see demand pick up," Shaw said. Credit rating agency Moody's (NYSE:MCO) cut its oil price assumptions on Wednesday, seeing WTI averaging $30 a barrel in 2020 and $35 in 2021, because of a global recession weighing on fuel demand and said it expected ample oil supply in storage to keep prices low through 2021.