Asian Futures Flat After Wall Street Closes at Record Highs

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Passersby wearing protective face masks walk past a screen displaying Nikkei share average and world stock indexes outside a brokerage, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan October 5, 2020. Picture taken with slow shutter speed. REUTERS/Issei Kato

MYRTLE BEACH — Asian futures were little changed in early trading after progress in vaccine distribution and a large U.S. stimulus program sent two major Wall Street indexes to record closing highs.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were essentially flat while Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures inched 0.1% higher.

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.9% in early trade.

Wall Street rallied for a fourth consecutive day on Thursday as Democrats pushed ahead with U.S. President Joe Biden’ proposed $1.9 trillion stimulus plan without bipartisan support. Some investors expected the Department of Labor to release better-than-expected jobs data later on Friday.

“The U.S. is looking good on a relative basis, with rising inflation expectations, steeper yield curves, the U.S. vaccination rate is rising, and savings rates are declining,” said Chris Weston, head research analyst at Pepperstone group.

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Each of the major Wall Street indexes rose more than 1% on Thursday. The Nasdaq Composite Index and S&P 500 set record highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 332.26 points, or 1.08%, to 31,055.86, the S&P 500 gained 41.57 points, or 1.09%, at 3,871.74 and the Nasdaq Composite added 167.20 points, or 1.23%, at 13,777.74.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.01%.

Bullish sentiment around stimulus and the broader U.S. economic recovery also pushed longer-term Treasury yields higher and strengthened the dollar.

The benchmark 10-year yield rose about 1 basis point to 1.1409% as investors positioned for a large pandemic relief package. The 20-year U.S. Treasury yield rose 2 basis points to 1.7396%.

The U.S. dollar index rose 0.5% as the euro weakened.

Strength in the dollar limited gains in oil markets which continued their upswing as promised supply cuts mean inventories were likely to stay low.

U.S. crude recently rose 0.52% to $56.52 per barrel and Brent was at $59.11, up 1.11% on the day.

Spot gold added 0.2%, at $1,795.30 an ounce, and U.S. gold futures % to $1,788.90 an ounce.

Reporting by Imani Moise; Editing by Richard Chang; Reuters

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