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Asia shares given pause by Tokyo lockdown talk - Investing.com
Asia shares given pause by Tokyo lockdown talk
By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian share markets hit pause on Monday as reports of a possible tightening in coronavirus emergency rules for Tokyo pulled Japanese stocks off 30-year highs, while also lifting the safe-haven yen. Investors are still counting on central banks to keep money super cheap while the rollout of coronavirus vaccines helps revive the global economy over time, but much of that optimism is already priced in and the virus is not cooperating. Japan's Nikkei shed its early gains to fall 1.1% when Fuji TV reported the government was considering a state of emergency for capital Tokyo and three surrounding prefectures. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.1%, a whisker from a record high. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dipped 0.2% after touching a new all-time top in early trade. Investors are cautiously watching runoff elections in Georgia for two U.S. Senate seats on Tuesday that will determine which party controls the Senate. If the Republicans win one or both, they will retain a slim majority in the chamber and can block President-elect Joe Biden's legislative goals and judicial nominees. "If Democrats win both races, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris would be the tiebreaking vote, giving the party unified control of the White House and Congress," noted analysts at CBA. "This would raise the likelihood a material U.S. infrastructure spending package gets fast tracked through Congress." Minutes of the Federal Reserve's December meeting due on Wednesday should offer more detail on discussions about making their forward policy guidance more explicit and the chance of a further increase in asset buying this year. The data calendar includes a raft of manufacturing surveys across the globe, which will show how industry is coping with the spread of the coronavirus, and the closely watched ISM surveys of U.S. factories and services. A survey showed Japan's factory activity stabilised for the first time in two years in December, while activity in Taiwan picked up. Friday sees the U.S. December payroll report where median forecasts are for only a modest increase of 100,000. Analysts as Barclays (LON:BARC) are tipping a fall of 50,000 in jobs, which would be a shock to market hopes of a speedy recovery. "A number of incoming indicators on activity point to slower momentum as the economy closes out the year, including data on labour markets where initial claims rose during the December survey period," said economist Michael Gapen in a note. Such a drop would add pressure on the Fed to ease further, another burden for the dollar which is already buckling under the weight of the massive U.S. budget and trade deficits. The dollar index was last at 89.786, not far from its recent 2-1/2-year low of 89.515 having shed almost 7% in 2020. The euro inched up to $1.2245, having run into profit taking late last week when it reached the highest since early 2018 at $1.2309. It gained almost 9% over 2020. The dollar slipped to 103.02 yen, and looked in danger of testing key support at 102.55. Sterling was firm at $1.3674, within spitting distance of its recent top of $0.13686. The decline in the dollar has been a support for gold, leaving the metal 0.6% firmer at $1,910 an ounce. Oil prices have steadied after a couple of months of solid gains, with Brent meeting resistance around $52.50 a barrel. The rebound still left Brent down 21.5% for the year, and WTI 20.5%. On Monday, Brent crude futures fell 8 cents to $51.72, while U.S. crude eased 12 cents to $48.40 a barrel.
Oil Stockpiles Fell 562,000 Barrels Last Week: EIA By Investing.com - Investing.com
Oil Stockpiles Fell 562,000 Barrels Last Week: EIA
Investing.com -- U.S. crude stockpiles fell less than expected in the latest week, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday. Crude inventories fell 562,000 barrels last week, compared with analysts' expectations for a 3.18 million-barrel drawdown. Distillate stockpiles, which include diesel and heating oil, fell 3.2 million barrels in the week against expectations for a 904,000-barrel drop, the EIA data showed. Refinery crude runs fell 169,000 barrels in the last week, EIA said. The weekly refinery utilization rate fell 1.1%, according to the report. Gasoline inventories fell 1.12 million barrels last week the EIA said, compared with expectations for a 1.2 million-barrel build. "The EIA has metaphorically put some gas into the oil bulls tank, though in real terms, its latest dataset takes some of the pressure thats built on the oil complex for weeks, particularly on the fuel products side," said Investing.com analyst Barani Krishnan. "While the crude draw at 562,000 barrels is less than a fifth of the 3.2 million barrels expected, it comes on the back of 140,000 barrels per day more in imports. The surge in exports was, however, compensated by the near 500,000 bpd spike in exports. That tells you where the crude draw came from." Krishnan added: "For the driving component, the gasoline draw will be a relief as its the first drawdown in seven weeks. This is a nice surprise given that people arent usually driving around like crazy at this time of the year. For distillates, its the first drop in four weeks and necessary to keep up with the theme of higher deliveries for the holiday season by trucks plying the country coast-to-coast. Not surprisingly, both WTI and Brent have taken this positively and rallying after a 2-day drop. Yet, one set of data doesnt make a trend. Well have to see the coming weeks numbers as the winter deepens, holiday deliveries end and Covid takes a whole new grip on the nation."
Shares hit record on vaccine progress, sterling awaits Brexit meeting - Investing.com
Shares hit record on vaccine progress, sterling awaits Brexit meeting
By Stanley White and Pete Schroeder TOKYO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Asian shares rose to a record high and U.S. stock futures gained on Wednesday as investors tracked positive news on COVID-19 vaccines and ongoing efforts to launch more fiscal stimulus. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.51%. At one point the index reached 646.10, an all-time peak. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe also hit a record high. Australian shares gained 0.69%. Japan's Nikkei rose 1.01% to approach a 29 1/2-year high. Sentiment got an added boost after Japanese data pointed to a rebound in capital expenditure. Shares in China rose 0.15%. South Korean stocks also jumped by 1.26% to trade near a record high. U.S. S&P 500 e-mini stock futures rose 0.11% in Asian trade after shares on Wall Street notched new record highs on Tuesday, boosted by positive vaccine news and seeming progress on U.S. stimulus talks. The British pound was little changed before make-or-break talks on a trade deal between Britain and the European Union. "While hopes are still alive that a fresh stimulus package for the United States will be agreed on soon, it is looking less likely a Brexit deal will be made with negotiators from both sides acknowledging a deal may not be achieved," analysts at ANZ Bank wrote in a research memo. "The next 24 hours will be critical and is likely to cause market volatility depending on what is or isn't agreed." The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.35% on Tuesday, the S&P 500 gained 0.28% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.5%. U.S. policymakers continued to negotiate over additional stimulus to help offset the economic impact of the pandemic while pursuing a stopgap government funding bill. Leaders in both parties remain adamant a deal must be struck but are still working through sticking points, including aid to state and local governments and business liability protections. The steady march of positive news on COVID-19 vaccines helped lift investor spirits. Britain on Tuesday became the first Western nation to begin a wide vaccination campaign, and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) reported it could obtain late-stage trial results for a single-dose vaccine in January, earlier than expected. Meanwhile, Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) cleared another hurdle when the U.S. health regulator released documents flagging no new safety or efficacy concerns. But the looming prospect of a "no deal" Brexit weighed on sentiment for sterling , which last traded at $1.3369 and at 90.61 pence per euro. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will meet Ursula von der Leyen, president of the EU's executive European Commission, for dinner in Brussels on Wednesday to try and close gaps their negotiators have struggled with for months. Against a basket of currencies the dollar sat at 90.923, which is about half a percent above a two-and-a-half-year low it hit on Friday as short sellers piled in. Benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yields edged up to 0.9344% in Asia on Wednesday. Some dealers say expectations for more fiscal spending could push yields up more in the future. Brent crude futures fell 0.18% to $48.75 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures fell 0.22% to $45.50 following a rise in U.S. crude inventories. [O/R] Spot gold fell from a two-week high to $1,868.21 per ounce as the start of vaccine treatment reduced safe harbour demand for the precious metal.
Global stocks hover near record high, oil skids on demand outlook - Investing.com
Stocks rack up the records, dollar sings the blues
By Marc Jones LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks remained on course for their best month ever on Friday as recent vaccine progress, Joe Biden's U.S. presidential election win, hopes for further stimulus, a commodity surge and a weak dollar all lifted the spirits. European markets had a touch of caution ahead of a barrage of economic data and as questions emerged over trial data on AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN)'s COVID-19 vaccine, but that wasn't going to derail a November to remember. Germany's, France's, Italy's and Spain's main bourses all squeezed out gains and government bond yields stayed lows after the European Central Bank reinforced expectations of further stimulus next month. London's FTSE was fractionally lower with some last-minute Brexit nerves, but with Wall Street pointing to a post-Thanksgiving rise MSCI's main world index was readying another all-time high. "Risk sentiment is in reasonable nick because we've got vaccines and easy money," said Societe Generale (OTC:SCGLY) strategist Kit Juckes. "That is the underpinning of optimism." It hadn't been all good news overnight. Australian shares ended down 0.5% and Treasury Wine Estates (OTC:TSRYF) was whacked 11.25% as China slapped new tariffs on Australian wine, the latest move in the countries' long-running trade spat. But shares in China still rose 0.1% after data there showed industrial profits surged at the fastest pace since early 2017. South Korean stocks and Japan's Nikkei both rose 0.3% too, albeit in choppy trade. British drugmaker AstraZeneca's coronavirus drug was touted as a "vaccine for the world" due to its inexpensive cost, but the efficacy of the vaccine is now facing more intense scrutiny, which experts say could delay its approval. Several scientists have raised doubts about the robustness of results showing the shot was 90% effective in a sub-group of trial participants who, by error initially, received a half dose followed by a full dose. "With global (coronavirus) case numbers having now topped 60 million... there is certainly some rough terrain ahead for the global recovery, and that can create economic scarring," analysts at ANZ Bank wrote in a memo. VIRUS VS VACCINE U.S. hospitalizations for COVID-19 are at a record and experts warn that Thanksgiving gatherings could lead to further infections and deaths. More than 20 million people across England will be forced to live under the toughest restrictions even after a national lockdown ends on Dec. 2. Partial lockdowns in some European countries have also raised concern about economic growth. The European Central Bank's chief economist highlighted these concerns, saying there were "some worrying signals" in financing conditions in Europe for small and medium-sized enterprises, which pushed European bond yields lower. German 10-year Bund yields traded near two-week lows on Friday, while Portugal's 10-year government bond yields touched zero for the first time. The euro, which last bought $1.1924, showed little reaction because currency traders have largely priced in expectations for additional ECB easing next month. The dollar, which has fallen more than 2.2% so far this month as global sentiment has surged, lessening demand for the safe-haven currency, was near its lowest in nearly three months. "Surely euro-dollar can't break through $1.20 without good news on the (Brexit) trade deal," Societe Generale's Juckes added. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes fell to 0.8586% as some investors sought the safety of holding government debt. In commodity markets, copper, another key gauge of global economic sentiment due to its use in infrastructure, hit a near 7-1/2 month high. Oil, though up nearly 30% this month, dipped overnight on oversupply concerns, but Brent recovered in London to rise to $48 per barrel. Bitcoin, the world's biggest cryptocurrency, edged up to $17,256 on Thursday after tumbling 8.4% in the previous session, having failed to take out its record high of $19,666. The cryptocurrency showed little reaction to a report in the Financial Times that Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) will launch its own Libra digital currency in limited format next year. Bitcoin has rallied around 140% this year, fuelled by demand for riskier assets.
CEO says AstraZeneca likely to run new global trial of COVID-19 vaccine: Bloomberg News - Investing.com
CEO says AstraZeneca likely to run new global trial of COVID-19 vaccine: Bloomberg News
(Reuters) - AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) is likely to run an additional global trial to assess the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine using a lower dosage, its chief executive was quoted as saying on Thursday amid questions over the results from its late-stage study. Instead of adding the trial to an ongoing U.S. process, AstraZeneca might launch a fresh study to evaluate a lower dosage of its vaccine that performed better than a full dosage, Pascal Soriot was quoted as saying in a Bloomberg News report. "Now that we've found what looks like a better efficacy we have to validate this, so we need to do an additional study," he said. Soriot said it would probably be another "international study, but this one could be faster because we know the efficacy is high so we need a smaller number of patients." The news comes as AstraZeneca faces questions about its success rate that some experts say could hinder its chances of getting speedy U.S. and EU regulatory approval. Several scientists have raised doubts about the robustness of results released on Monday showing the experimental vaccine was 90% effective in a sub-group of trial participants who, by error initially, received a half dose followed by a full dose. Soriot said he did not expect the additional trial to delay UK and European regulatory approvals. Asked about the Bloomberg report, an AstraZeneca spokesman said there was "strong merit in continuing to further investigate the half-dose/ full dose regimen." "We are further evaluating the data and will work with regulators on the best approach for further evaluation," he said. "This would add to data from existing trials which are currently being prepared for regulatory submission." AstraZeneca told Reuters earlier on Thursday that administering of the half dose had been reviewed and approved by independent data safety monitors and the UK regulator, adding that the regulator publicly confirmed there was "no concern". Clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) may take longer though because the agency is unlikely to approve the vaccine based on studies carried out elsewhere, especially given the questions over the results, Soriot said. Authorisation in some countries is still expected before the end of the year, he added. AstraZeneca research chief Mene Pangalos told Reuters on Monday that researchers had stumbled upon the half-dose regime by accident, saying a sub-group of the trial was given a smaller initial dose by mistake. Earlier he had said that the firm would start discussions with the FDA to change the design of its experimental COVID-19 vaccine trial to add the more-effective dosage regime. Running an additional trial might not be too much of a complication for the British drugmaker in the race to develop a successful vaccine to help tame the pandemic, which has killed more than a million people and roiled the global economy. Helen Fletcher, professor of immunology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said that another trial would not necessarily delay getting a green light as efficacy in the higher dose regime still met the World Health Organization's target, and it was not unusual to run new studies on approved vaccines. "Its entirely possible AZ and Oxford could license the high dose and then quickly seek an amendment to use the low dose when they have sufficient data," she said. The vaccine is one of three that could get approved before the end the year. Earlier this month, Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Moderna (NASDAQ:MRNA) reported that their vaccines were about 95% effective in preventing illness, setting the bar sky-high. Even so, the AstraZeneca shot developed with Oxford University is cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale up than its rivals. A peer-reviewed analysis of the trial data will be published in a medical journal in the coming weeks. The UK's Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is continuing its rolling review of the vaccine, the regulator's Chief Executive June Raine said in an email on Thursday. "Any vaccine must undergo robust clinical trials in line with international standards, with oversight provided by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), and no vaccine would be authorised for supply in the UK unless the expected standards of safety, quality and efficacy are met," she said. The European Medicines Agency did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the potential for another study.
Global stocks hit record high as Biden transition, vaccines brighten outlook - Investing.com
Global stocks hit record high as Biden transition, vaccines brighten outlook
By Tom Wilson and Hideyuki Sano LONDON/TOKYO (Reuters) - Global shares reached record highs on Wednesday after the Dow Jones broke 30,000, with investors relieved at the prospect of a smooth handover of power after the U.S. presidential election and confident a COVID-19 vaccine would soon be ready. President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday introduced his foreign policy and national security team after President Donald Trump cleared the way to prepare for the start of his administration. Reports that Biden planned to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary, potentially easing the passage of a fiscal stimulus package to counter COVID-19 damage, also cheered markets. The renewed demand for shares pushed MSCI's broadest gauge of world stocks to a record high of 622.12. It was last up 0.1% European shares Euro STOXX 600 followed suit, gaining 0.1% in early trading to hold near nine-month highs, with banking stocks gaining ground, then falling back. In Asia, Japan's Nikkei earlier rose to a 29-year high. MSCI's index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded down 0.2% as Chinese shares were capped by worries about rising debt defaults. The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday crossed 30,000 for the first time on Tuesday Futures for the S&P 500 added 0.2%. "The world is going to look a lot better this time next year than it does now, and that's what equity markets are reflecting," said Mike Bell, global market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management. "The fact is the outlook has dramatically changed in the last month." EASING THE PAIN Amid the improved outlook, investors bet that forthcoming virus vaccines would ease the pain of industries hit hardest by the pandemic, from tourism to energy. Global energy shares have risen almost 34% so far this month, on track for their best month on record as crude prices rally. Oil prices held near their highest levels since March on the improved global economic outlook. Brent futures were up 1.3% to $48.48 per barrel, touching a high last seen in March. Those risk-on moves played out in bond markets, too. Yields on benchmark euro zone debt rose from record lows. German Bund yields traded near their highest levels in almost a week. Yields rise when bonds fall. U.S. Treasuries were pressured, too, as investors bet any fiscal stimulus package in Washington would bring more debt. Riskier currencies gained against safe havens, including the U.S. dollar. Against a basket of six currencies, the dollar was down 0.1% at 92.048 after falling 0.4% on Tuesday. The Australian dollar moved to its highest since early September, already helped by investors unwinding bets on additional monetary easing. The yen, a safe haven in times of political and economic stress, was little changed at 104.38 per dollar. Still, even amid the risk-on mood, bitcoin was flat at $19,179, staying within sight of its record peak of $19,666 after November gains of nearly 40%.
Wall Street Opens Higher as Rotation Trades Gain Traction; Dow up 318 Pts - Investing.com
Wall Street Opens Higher as Rotation Trades Gain Traction; Dow up 318 Pts
By Geoffrey Smith Investing.com -- U.S. stock markets opened higher again on Tuesday as faith in an economic recovery next year gained traction, spurring fresh interest in beaten down cyclical stocks. By 9:40 AM ET (1440 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 318 points, or 1.1%, at 29,909 points. The S&P 500 was up 0.6% and the NASDAQ Composite was again - relatively speaking - a laggard, flat on the day. Stocks across the board reacted positively to the nomination of former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary by President-elect Joe Biden. Yellen is synonymous with the largely successful reflation of the U.S. economy after the Great Recession and investors expect her to commit again to an expansionary fiscal policy to overcome the current crisis, having argued for just that recently in a conference speech. There was also some uplift from the latest sign that President Donald Trump is abandoning his efforts to cling on to the White House, despite his ongoing tweets to the contrary. In the wake of Michigan's decision to certify its election results on Monday, the president is now allowing Biden and his team access to the resources necessary for a smooth handover of power. That all came against the backdrop of fresh evidence of the economy slowing down as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to notch new records for cases and hospital admissions on the eve of a Thanksgiving holiday that risks becoming a nationwide 'superspreader' event akin to the Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends earlier this year. "We are almost to a vaccine (sic)," Surgeon General Jerome Adams told Fox News earlier. "We've got new remedies out there. We just need you, the American people, to hold on a little bit longer." The Conference Board's consumer confidence index for November fell by more than expected, while the Richmond Federal Reserve's business survey also painted a picture of slowing output and demand. Among the early movers, Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock roared another 3.2% higher on a wave of upgrades from brokers who now appear to feel compelled to put out multiple "cases" for the stock that indulge the aggressive bullishness of the retail investors who have driven its rally this year. More fundamentally, Tesla is likely to be a net beneficiary of General Motors (NYSE:GM) signaling on Monday on that it will end its support for efforts to take away California's powers to 'gold plate' its emissions regulations. California's standards, tighter than the national average, have had the effect of creating a national standard all by themselves, at greater short-term cost to traditional carmakers. Elsewhere, Boeing (NYSE:BA) stock rose 4.4% after EU regulators moved closer to allowing the 737 MAX back into the skies after an absence of 20 months.
Dow Futures Rise 284 Pts; Yellen Nomination Prompts Cheers - Investing.com
Dow Futures Rise 284 Pts; Yellen Nomination Prompts Cheers
By Peter Nurse Investing.com - U.S. stocks are seen opening firmly higher Tuesday, continuing the recent positive tone as investors cheer the greater clarity of political transition in Washington, the nomination of Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary as well as the continuing progress of Covid-19 vaccines through the development process. At 7:05 AM ET (1205 GMT), the Dow Futures contract rose 284 points, or 1%, while S&P 500 Futures traded 25 points, or 0.7%, higher, and Nasdaq 100 Futures climbed 36 points, or 0.3%. Helping the tone Tuesday was the announcement Monday that General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy informed President-elect Joe Biden that federal resources would be available for his transition into office, three weeks after the actual election. President Trump backed the decision, and while he didnt go as far as to concede the election, this move has removed a lot of the uncertainty over whether there would be an orderly transfer of power in the world's biggest economy. Wall Street has also cheered the news Biden is to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen as his Treasury Secretary, seeing her as willing to complement the current Fed policy of very low interest rates with extended, expansionary government spending to support the economy through the pandemic. At least 150,000 Covid-19 cases are being confirmed each day in the U.S., with many states instigating new restrictions to try and slow down this new surge in infections. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 327 points, or 1.1%, higher, while the S&P 500 gained 0.6% and the Nasdaq Composite 0.2%. The DJIA is on track to have its best month since January of 1987, as the idea of Covid-19 vaccines in the near future has tempted investors back into pro-growth cyclical stocks. There are a few more retailers due to report earnings Tuesday as the sector heads into its critical holiday shopping season, including Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Dicks Sporting Goods (NYSE:DKS), Dollar Tree (NASDAQ:DLTR) and Tiffany & Co (NYSE:TIF). On the economic data slate, September data from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price index is due later in the session, followed by November figures from the Conference Board's Consumer Confidence survey. Oil prices continued to post gains Tuesday, climbing to levels not seen since March. Traders will look to the release of the crude oil supply data from the American Petroleum Institute later in the day. U.S. crude futures traded 0.8% higher at $43.40 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract rose 0.6% to $46.31. Both oil benchmarks settled up about 2% on Monday after gaining about 5% last week. Elsewhere, gold futures fell 0.9% to $1,809.75/oz, dropping to its lowest level in four months, while EUR/USD traded 0.3% higher at 1.1869.
Global stocks rise as investors cheer Biden transition, vaccine progress - Investing.com
Stocks and oil ride high on Biden transition and vaccine hopes
By Lawrence White and Julie Zhu LONDON/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Stocks, oil and risk currencies gained on Tuesday as the formal go-ahead for U.S. President-elect Joe Biden to begin his transition burnished a November already boosted by COVID-19 vaccines. European markets tracked gains in Asian and U.S. equities, with the broad-based STOXX 600 index opening 0.8% higher and Brent crude climbing to its highest level since March at $46.38 a barrel. Safe haven assets such as gold fell. After weeks of legal challenges to the election results, U.S. General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy wrote to Biden on Monday informing him the formal hand-over process could begin. President Donald Trump tweeted that he had told his team "do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols", an indication he was moving toward a transition. "Markets have been constrained by very high levels of uncertainty on the U.S. political front and around vaccines for weeks, so with those two going away investors are considering the prospect of a return to normality in 2021," said Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays (LON:BARC). Reports that Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to become the next Treasury Secretary further boosted U.S. stocks on expectations she would pursue more conventional policies than the outgoing Steven Mnuchin. Futures for the S&P 500 rose 1.2% in early European trading hours and putting the 49-country MSCI world stocks index on course to set a new record high later. Japan's Nikkei jumped 2.5% to its highest level since May 1991 overnight, with energy, real estate and financial shares leading the advance. Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had ticked up 0.4%. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 was 1.26% stronger, touching its highest level in almost nine months, with energy stocks leading the pack there. Seoul's Kospi was 0.6% higher as was Hong Kong's Hang Seng which rose 0.4%. China blue-chips were an outlier however, edging down 0.6%, as investors booked profits following recent strong gains. (Graphic: Global markets enjoying November reign https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/azgpozyqgvd/24-11%20assets.jpg) Some analysts say a Biden presidency, which could mean more negotiation room for Washington and Beijing, would not make a big difference for China's equities market, as they expected little change in broad U.S. policy toward China. The progress made on COVID-19 vaccines, which had underpinned Wall Street overnight, helped keep risk appetite elevated as it boosted optimism about a quicker revival for the global economy. AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) and Oxford University had said on Monday that their COVID-19 vaccine, which is cheaper to make, easier to distribute and faster to scale-up than its rivals, could be as much as 90% effective. RISK ON The New Zealand dollar was among the currency gainers, rising as much as 0.9% to a two-year high of $0.6985 as its central bank said house prices, which have been storming higher this year, could be included in its inflation basket. The euro was gaining towards $1.19 again and the dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, nudged down to 92.235. Also spurred on by the vaccine hopes, oil reached levels not seen since before the coronavirus began to spread rapidly in March and decimated demand. Brent crude futures rose 45 cents, or 1%, to $46.51 a barrel to add to a more than 20% surge this month, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude added 46 cents, or 1.1%, to $43.52. "Progress on developing and distributing a vaccine de-risks the path back to normal for oil markets," said Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at financial services firm Axi. In the bond markets, the yield on the benchmark 10-year notes rose slightly to 0.87% as did those on most European government bonds. Germany's 10-year yield was up 1 basis point to -0.57% in early trade. Gold continued to lose its shine too, falling to $1,826.3 an ounce having now dropped 10% this month.
Biden win pumps up risk assets, dollar nurses losses - Investing.com
Biden win pumps up risk assets, dollar nurses losses
By Swati Pandey SYDNEY (Reuters) - Shares surged, oil prices jumped and the dollar stayed weak on Monday as expectations of fewer regulatory changes and more monetary stimulus under U.S. president-elect Joe Biden supported risk appetite. The Democratic candidate's victory at the U.S. Presidential election was largely priced-in by markets, which had been trading with the view of a Biden presidency and a Republican-controlled U.S. Senate since last week. E-mini futures for the S&P 500 jumped more than 1.5% on Monday while Nasdaq futures rallied over 2%, signalling a positive start for U.S. markets. MSCI's broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside of Japan jumped 1.3% to 613.95 points, the highest since January 2018. It had climbed 6.2% last week to clock its best weekly performance since early June. "While lots of attention was given to Trump vs Biden, markets have reacted strongly to the (likely) split congress, which means more confidence that interest rates will be lower for longer," said Dave Wang, portfolio manager at Nuveen Capital in Singapore. "The best opportunities now lie within segments of emerging markets, in particular China and North Asia. I believe earnings momentum and valuation put China in a very attractive risk/reward position." Chinese shares started higher with the blue-chip CSI300 index up 1% on hopes of better Sino-U.S. trade relations under Biden. Japan rose 2% while the main indexes of Australia, Hong Kong and South Korea gained 1.7% each. Equities rallied hard last week, with the S&P500 up 7.3%, clocking the best gains in an election week since 1932, according to National Australia Bank (OTC:NABZY) analyst Tapas Strickland. Matt Sherwood of Australian fund manager Perpetual, however, said Biden's victory did not necessarily warrant a tweaking of his portfolio. "In the end, we think the U.S. economy is still fairly fragile and growth's slowing down," Sherwood said. "You could potentially gravitate your portfolio more towards higher-beta type markets, such as emerging markets, and there is potential for better prospects in the energy space than would have been the case with a Democrat clean sweep." Oil prices jumped on Monday as investors cheered Biden's victory, shrugging off worries about lacklustre demand amid rising global coronavirus cases. Brent crude added $1 to $40.48. Analysts warned the road might get tougher from here as investors focus on Biden's ability to expand fiscal stimulus and measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The United States saw a record number of new coronavirus infections last week, with the total number of cases nearing 10 million. U.S.-based wealth manager Jim Wilding at Confluence Financial Partners in Pennsylvania added a word of caution with the S&P 500 not far from all-time highs and equity valuations generally at heady levels. "While we remain positive over the intermediate term outlook and believe divided government reduces the chances of a bear case scenario playing out, we would refrain from unbridled enthusiasm at current levels," he noted. A fiscal stimulus plan is still possible despite a divided government, analysts said, though a larger package is less likely. That puts the spotlight on the U.S. Federal Reserve to do more to bolster the world's largest economy. As a result, the dollar has weakened in recent days while growth proxies such as the Australian dollar have rallied with the Biden presidency seen less likely to be confrontational on trade. The dollar was mostly flat against the Japanese yen at 103.31, after slipping about 1.3% last week. The Aussie was up 0.2%, having jumped 3.3% last week. Investor focus will also be on sterling and the euro this week with UK-EU trade negotiations coming to a head with the EU summit on Nov. 15. Later in the day, the Bank of England chief economist will give a speech on 'The economic impact of coronavirus and long term implications for the UK'. The euro, which climbed 1.9% last week, was a shade higher on Monday at $1.1887. Sterling rose to $1.3183.
Dow Futures Down 120 Pts; Election Still Uncertain, Payrolls Due - Investing.com
Dow Futures Down 120 Pts; Election Still Uncertain, Payrolls Due
By Peter Nurse Investing.com - U.S. stocks are seen opening lower Friday, consolidating after a four-day rally, with investors keeping a wary eye on the race for the White House ahead of the release of key employment data. At 7:05 AM ET (1205 GMT), S&P 500 Futures traded 20 points, or 0.6%, lower, the Dow Futures contract fell 120 points, or 0.4%, while Nasdaq 100 Futures dropped 94 points, or 0.8%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 2% higher Thursday, while the S&P 500 index climbed 2%, and the Nasdaq Composite index added 2.6%. These indices are on course for their best week in seven months, with the Dow and S&P up over 7% this week so far and the Nasdaq Composite 9% higher. The U.S. presidency race is still ongoing, but the tide appears to be turning decisively in favor of Democrat candidate Joe Biden. The former vice president has taken a narrow lead in vote-counting in Georgia, according to a number of U.S. news outlets, one of the states that incumbent President Donald Trump needs to win to retain his place in the White House. While Biden now seems likely to become president, the Senate still seems set to stay in Republican hands. This would reduce the prospects of substantial regulatory changes, given a divided Congress, but could also make a substantial coronavirus relief fund tricky to pass. Indications point to a Joe Biden presidency, absent the 'blue wave' that markets had been anticipating. Political animosity means a substantial near-term fiscal support package is less likely at a time when incomes are being squeezed and rising Covid-19 cases mean containment measures are looking more likely. Economic risks are mounting, said ING analyst Carsten Brzeski, in a research note. Meanwhile, seventeen out of 50 U.S. states reported record one-day increases in coronavirus cases on Thursday, according to a Reuters tally, a day after the country recorded over 100,000 new infections for the first time. This increase in Covid cases will place an increased focus upon the October jobs report, at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT), with nonfarm payrolls expected to show a gain of 600,000, which would be lower than Septembers 661,000. CVS Health (NYSE:CVS), Marriott International (NASDAQ:MAR) and Hershey (NYSE:HSY) all beat expectations for their quarterly earnings earlier, while Coty (NYSE:COTY) and others are still to report. Oil prices fell Friday, under pressure from signs of overproduction within OPEC and more aggressive discounting by Saudi Arabia in Asia. U.S. crude futures traded 3.3% lower at $37.51 a barrel, while the international benchmark Brent contract fell 2.7% to $39.84. These contracts are still heading for their first weekly gain in four. Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.5% to $1,955.70/oz, but remained on course for its biggest weekly gain since July, while EUR/USD traded 0.5% higher at 1.1881.
U.S. futures jump as potential Washington gridlock signals less regulatory risk - Investing.com
Stock futures jump as potential Washington gridlock signals less regulatory risk
By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Susan Mathew (Reuters) - U.S. stock futures jumped on Thursday on bets that a potential gridlock in Washington could reduce the chance of major policy changes that would hurt corporate America, although concerns remained about the risk of a contested presidential election. Democrat Joe Biden moved closer to victory in the race to the White House on Thursday as election officials tallied votes in the handful of states that would determine the outcome, while Republican President Donald Trump filed lawsuits and called for recounts. Meanwhile, Republicans appeared poised to retain control of the U.S. Senate, which would make it more difficult for a Biden presidency to deliver on promises to rein in Big Tech and other businesses. "The outcome of the election in terms of the potential for a Democratic President and a Republican Senate is in many ways the best news for markets because it prevents more extreme policies," said Jonathan Bell, chief investment officer at Stanhope Capital in London. Shares of technology mega-caps including Apple Inc (NASDAQ:AAPL), Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN) and Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Corp rose more than 2% each in early premarket trading, building on a rally of more than 4% on Wednesday. Renewable energy, infrastructure, marijuana and trade-sensitive stocks, which analysts have identified as winning under a Biden administration, all edged higher after widely underperforming Wall Street in the previous session. But investors also sought the safety of bonds as the divided Congress would dent the prospect of a bumper fiscal stimulus package - critical to reviving the economy from a coronavirus-triggered recession. [US/] Attention later in the day will also be on the Federal Reserve's latest policy statement after a two-day meeting, but with the final result of the election still uncertain, the central bank is expected to repeat its pledge to do whatever it can to help the economy. Wall Street's main indexes had surged on Wednesday to close at their highest levels in more than a week, with the benchmark S&P 500 posting its best day since June and the tech-heavy Nasdaq since April. At 5:16 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 352 points, or 1.27%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 61.5 points, or 1.79%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 321.75 points, or 2.74%. Energy stocks such as Exxon Mobil (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron (NYSE:CVX) slipped 0.3% and 0.9%, respectively, tracking oil prices. [O/R] Graphic: Trump and the stock market - https://graphics.reuters.com/USA-STOCKS/xlbvgwyzmvq/trumptimeline.png