Dow rallies 421 points, closes on its high, Europe rallies just as hard, equities steal the spotlight from falling oil, ASX futures 73 points higher

The markets gave us some green last night in a very broad way, with all major North American and European indices rising. From today's first chart you can see that this has brought both the ASX 200 and S&P 500 back to zero for month-to-date performance. Vladimir Putin gave a very open and candid press conference in Moscow last night, and while many reporters are reporting this in a fairly dim light, he remained incredibly calm and fluid as he confronted the audience of reporters who were present. At one point he was asked a pointy question predicated on an incredibly biased version of events by a BBC reporter, to which he calmly explains his view that Russia is not the provocateur in this situation. The fact that he seems to be maintaining a philosophical view of what The West is doing with regard to sanctions and (potentially) influence over the oil price probably calmed markets quite a bit. Using the analogy of a bear protecting his forest, he seems to suggest that if The West is successful in removing the bear's fangs and claws (i.e., removing Russia's resources required to meet its 2015-17 defence plans), then maybe the bear should sit quietly for a while and 'eat honey'. It seems to suggest that Russia (or at least Vladimir Putin) is prepared to endure sanctions and a period of economic hardship in order to protect its sovereign rights, which he says could last up to two years.

Although the big move in equities last night did punctuate the volatile state of equity markets at present, the S&P 500 volatility gauge (VIX) fell significantly, back to a level of 16.8, which is shown in today's second chart. In today's last chart, I've shown WTI crude and Brent crude, which have both steadied over the last few sessions. It is a braver trader than I who wades in and takes a position on oil rebounding right now; however, if these instruments continue to consolidate, then no doubt plenty of traders will be looking for a low-risk entry point. For the adventurous, recent lows are US$53.59 (WTI) and US$58.53 (Brent), which you would want to set some very strict stop losses around. Type OILUS or OILUK into Rivkin Trader (click here and choose 'dealing' for a free $100,000 demo account) and select the front month contract to trade WTI and Brent, respectively.

Today’s charts are taken from the Rivkin Trader platform. 30,000 global instruments available to trade including FX, commodities, index, ETFs and international shares. Trade Australian share CFDs from just $8 or 0.10%. Click here or phone 1300 748 546 to get your free $100,000 demo account.

Upcoming economic announcements: European Central Bank LTRO repayment at 10pm, Canadian CPI and retail sales out at 12:30am, all Sydney time.

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