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Gulf Today Report
Global stocks gained on Tuesday as hopes of a robust economic recovery bolstered confidence in riskier assets. A pullback in US and European bond yields also buoyed equity markets.
In Europe, the Euro STOXX 600 shrugged off data showing a bigger than expected fall in fourth quarter euro zone economic output to rally 0.5%.
Germany’s DAX leapt to its third record high in a week after a surprise rise in January exports.
The speedier rollout of COVID-19 vaccines in some countries and the United States’ planned $1.9 trillion stimulus package helped underpin a brighter global economic outlook, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development said, as it raised its 2021 growth forecast to 5.6%.
“Conviction of a strong economic recovery is boosting risk sentiment and driving demand for riskier assets such as equities,” said Sophie Griffiths, an OANDA market analyst.
“Yesterday’s troubles of rising bond yields have been quashed, for now, and the US dollar is slipping lower.”
Earlier, in volatile trading in Asia, China’s benchmark Shanghai Composite index fell 1.8% to the brink of correction territory amid fears of policy tightening. Japan’s Nikkei finished 1% higher as consumer goods companies and property developers gained on expectations they would benefit from an economic recovery.
NASDAQ futures rose 2.1% and S&P 500 futures 0.9%.
MSCI’s all-country index was 0.3% higher. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said on Monday that President Joe Biden’s coronavirus aid package would provide enough resources to fuel a “very strong” U.S. economic recovery, and noted “there are tools” to deal with inflation.
Still, investors remain conflicted over whether the stimulus will help global growth rebound faster from the COVID-19 downturn or cause the world’s biggest economy to overheat and fuel inflation.
“The chance of our seeing more inflation in the economy is meaningfully increased by the monetary policy actions and the fiscal policy actions that we’re seeing around the world,” Goldman Sachs Chief Executive Officer David Solomon told a conference in Sydney via webcast.
“There is certainly a reasonable outcome where inflation accelerates more quickly than people are expecting, and that will obviously have an impact on markets and volatility.”
The technology sector and other richly valued companies have been highly susceptible to the rising rates.
Australian tech stocks slid for the sixth straight session, in line with their US peers, while a tech sell off meant South Korea’s KOSPI fell 0.7%, dipping for a fourth straight session.
US economic data pointed to a continued recovery. Wholesale inventories increased in January despite a surge in sales, the Commerce Department said on Monday, suggesting inventory investment could again contribute to growth in the first quarter.
“If rates are grinding higher because people are getting optimistic about what economic growth looks like, that is still supportive for equity prices,” said Tom Hainlin, global investment strategist at U.S. Bank Wealth Management’s Ascent Private Wealth Group in Minneapolis.
Euro zone government bond yields fell across the board in the wake of the gloomy fourth quarter economic data.
Germany’s 10-year government bond yield dropped 4 basis points to -0.322%, moving further away from the one-year high of 0.203% in late February.
US Treasuries rallied ahead of a key auction, with 10-year yields dropping by as much as 5 basis points on the day.
In foreign exchange markets, the dollar index backed away from a three-and-a-half-month high and was 0.4% lower. In signs risk appetite might be returning, the British pound, the Aussie, and the Kiwi dollar all edged up. The euro rose half a percent to $1.19155.
Oil prices rose as investors focused on prospects for tighter supply and demand recovery.
Brent crude was up 1.3% at $69.13. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) added 0.6% to $65.46.
Spot gold added 1.4% to $1,704.46 an ounce.
Indian shares closed higher on Tuesday, driven by strong gains in heavyweight financial stocks, as a pullback in bond yields globally sharpened investors’ appetite for riskier assets.
The blue-chip NSE Nifty 50 index closed 0.95% higher at 15,098.4, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex was up 1.16% at 51,025.48.
Worries about rising US Treasury yields and outflows of foreign funds had last week tempered a rally in Indian stocks fuelled by positive economic growth data and progress in the country’s vaccination campaign.
China extended its impressive trade performance in April, with exports unexpectedly accelerating and import growth hitting a decade high, in a boost to the world’s second-largest economy.
Stock markets rallied on Monday, with fresh signs of economic recovery resonating with investors more than a surge in coronavirus infections worldwide.
Wall Street brushed off data released on Friday showing the US economy adding jobs as US-Chinese tensions mount and a standoff over fresh stimulus continues.
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