Equity markets in Asia and Europe mostly rose yesterday following a second day of records on Wall Street as investors cheered strong US data showing the world’s top economy was well on the recovery track.
The S&P 500 and Dow scaled new heights, while the Nasdaq also saw big gains, after data Friday showed far more US jobs than expected were created last month.
And the good news kept coming on Monday with figures showing activity in the crucial services sector hit an all-time high in March, as orders surged thanks to a jolt of pent-up demand.
That came after a gauge of manufacturing came in at a 37-year high last week.
Markets strategist Louis Navellier said the next few weeks could see more gains for equities.
“The primary reason that April is a seasonally strong month is due to new pension funding,” he said in a note.
“The other reason is that the better weather in April lifts investor sentiment, and this year buoyant sentiment is likely to be boosted by a strong earnings season against a weaker quarter a year ago.
“Second-quarter earnings growth is likely to be more pronounced, offering the prospect of a longer rally in stocks.”
Sydney, Seoul, Mumbai, Jakarta, Taipei and Manila rose, while London, Paris and Frankfurt also advanced at the open.
But Tokyo sank more than 1% on profit-taking after recent gains, while Singapore and Wellington also fell.
Shanghai was weighed by reports that China’s central bank had called on lenders to ease back on loan growth for the rest of 2021, owing to worries about a possible bubble developing as well as rising debt.
That comes as the country’s leaders look to step back from the stimulus measures put in place last year to kickstart the economy, which is now well on the recovery track.
Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 closed 0.8% down at 29,696.63 points and Shanghai’s Composite closed flat at 3,482.97 points and
Hong Kong market was closed for a holiday.
The strong economic readings came as traders take heart from good progress in vaccination rollouts in the United States and Britain, which are allowing governments to ease containment measures.
Meanwhile, there is also optimism that Joe Biden will be able to get a large part of his $2.25tn infrastructure package through Congress after officials said it would not need a 60:40 margin to pass the Senate, meaning Republicans will struggle to hold it up.
And analysts said the expected rise in taxes to pay for the programme was not yet a concern for traders.
“The reopening trade is back with good reason,” Kim Forrest, Bokeh Capital Partners founder and chief investment officer, told Bloomberg TV.
“Do I think that some of that rebound might be taken off of the table because of taxes in America? Maybe near the end of that growth spurt, certainly not at the beginning — which I think that’s where we are here.”
The yield on benchmark US 10-year Treasuries also dipped slightly Monday, easing worries about inflation being fanned by the expected surge in economic activity this year, which some have warned could lead the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates sooner than flagged.
But Fed official Loretta Mester reiterated the bank’s stance that its ultra-loose monetary policy would not be touched until it is happy the economy is well on track with inflation running high for an extended period and unemployment tamed.
“I think we need to be very deliberately patient in our approach to monetary policy and really focus in on hitting those goals that we have for monetary policy,” said Mester, who is considered a policy hawk.
“I’m thinking that we’ll see a very strong second half of the year but we’re still far from our policy goals.”
Oil prices rose more than 1% as observers said the chances of a breakthrough in Iran nuclear talks were slim.
Both contracts tumbled last week on the prospects that the country’s crude could return to markets if negotiations on the accord progressed smoothly and sanctions on the country were eased.
“I think nuclear talks, coupled with a surge in Covid-19 cases in certain regions, means that prices will likely be fairly volatile,” said Warren Patterson at ING Group.
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