Most Asian stocks climbed Thursday and the pound advanced as an outline of the post-Brexit trade deal appeared to soothe investor nerves heading into the Christmas holiday period.
Shares rose in Australia, Japan and South Korea. US equity futures edged up after the S&P 500 finished on Wednesday just 0.1% higher with the Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 indexes setting intraday records. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. sank more than 8% in Hong Kong after China kicked off an investigation into alleged monopolistic practices at the tech giant.
Treasuries were steady after the gap between 5- and 30-year yields widened Wednesday to a four-year high. Some equity markets will shut early Thursday for Christmas holidays and then most will be closed Friday.
Investors are looking past President Donald Trump’s demand for changes to US pandemic relief, expecting that stimulus spending will come sooner or later. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seized on Trump’s call for larger individual checks and said the House would try to pass this additional measure during a pro forma session on Thursday.
“Right now we have a lot of animal spirits surging into year end,” Michael Purves, founder and CEO at Tallbacken Capital Advisors, said on Bloomberg TV. “As constructive as I am on markets in the broader term, I do expect there will be a hangover of sorts to process this over-extension some time later this winter.”
Meantime, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE agreed to double the supply of their Covid-19 vaccine to the US In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed tougher restrictions across a swath of England as authorities try to rein in a strain of coronavirus that’s spreading quickly.
Here are the main moves in markets:
- Futures on the S&P 500 added 0.2% as of 11:45 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge rose 0.1% on Wednesday.
- Japan’s Topix index advanced 0.6%.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.3%.
- Shanghai Composite dipped 0.2%.
- South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.9%.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.5%.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1%.
- The yen was at 103.57 per dollar.
- The euro bought US$1.2207, up 0.2%.
- The pound rose 0.3% to US$1.3533.
- The offshore yuan traded at 6.5258 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 0.95%.
- Australia’s 10-year yield climbed six basis points to 0.99%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.3% to US$48.28 ($64.37) a barrel.
- Gold climbed 0.3% to US$1,878.83 an ounce.