Stock markets gain as investors get bullish ahead of key US data - GulfToday

Stock markets gain as investors get bullish ahead of key US data


People queue in front of a fashion store in Vienna, Austria, on Monday. Austria partially reopened after a regional lockdown amid the ongoing pandemic. Agence France-Presse

With China, Japan and Britain closed for public holidays, volumes were thin. The Euro STOXX index rose 0.71%, while the German DAX gained 0.61% and France’s CAC 40 0.5%.

Wall Street futures were higher, pointing to yet more gains after stock markets notched up another round of record highs last week. The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, was flat on the day and below record highs, however, as losses in Asia offset the gains in Europe.

Indian shares recovered early losses to close flat on Monday, as gains in consumer goods and telecom stocks offset losses in conglomerate Reliance Industries and Kotak Mahindra Bank after their earnings came in below expectations.

The NSE Nifty 50 index was up 0.02% at 14,634.1, while the S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.13% to 48,718.5.

The indexes had shed more than 1% each in early trading as investors also weighed growing calls to curb economic activity to check a surge in COVID-19 infections.

A leading industry body on Sunday urged authorities to take the “strongest national steps” to save lives, while the Indian Express newspaper reported that the country’s COVID-19 taskforce had advised the federal government to impose a national lockdown.

Elsewhere, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Sunday lost a crucial election in West Bengal.

In Mumbai trading, Bharti Airtel was the top boost to the indexes, ending up 4.1% in its best session since February 1. The S&P BSE telecom index was up 3.5%.

Consumer goods giant Hindustan Unilever (HUL) climbed 2.3%.

Underpinning investors’ enthusiasm for riskier assets is the sense that the global economy is about to boom as countries come out of lockdowns and consumers and businesses unleash some of their excess savings built up over the past year.

Investor optimism has been enhanced by a run of forecast-beating corporate earnings during the past few weeks.

German retail sales data for March came in far better than expected, underlining that a U.S.-led economic rebound is now gaining traction elsewhere.

Recent business surveys have also pointed to soaring confidence about the recovery, although some economists think businesses may be getting ahead of themselves and influenced more by the success and speed of COVID-19 vaccination rollouts.

“The data has been unrealistically strong in recent months - while the underlying economy is performing very well, manufacturing growth is not quite at the stratospheric levels the surveys imply,” said UBS economist Paul Donovan.

“Newsflow about the vaccination cycle may be more important in dictating answers to sentiment surveys than actual economic activity.”

A busy week for U.S. economic data is expected to show resounding strength, particularly for the ISM manufacturing survey and April payrolls. Forecasts are that 978,000 jobs were created in the month as consumers spent their stimulus money and the economy opened up more.

Analysts at NatWest Markets, for instance, see U.S. payrolls surging by 1.25 million in April with unemployment diving to 5.2%, from 6% in March.

GERMAN YIELDS RISE: Such gains could stir speculation of a tapering in asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, though Chair Jerome Powell has shown every sign of staying patient on policy.

Powell is due to speak later on Monday and will be followed by a raft of Fed officials this week. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan caused a stir on Friday by calling for beginning the conversation about tapering.

The 10-year Treasury yield ended last week with a rise of 6 basis points. On Monday the 10-year yield edged 1 basis point higher to 1.64%.

German benchmark yields rose to their highest since March 2020 as growing signs of a strong recovery in the euro zone economy encourages more selling of safe-haven government debt, while Italian yields reached their highest since September.

The German 10-year yield rose more than 3 basis points to -0.162%.

“Recovery is picking up, vaccinations are accelerating, reopening is nearing,” said Arne Petimezas, analyst at AFS Group in Amsterdam.

The rise in Germany yields accelerated last week when German inflation advanced further above the European Central Bank’s target, and U.S. data showed economic growth speed up in the first quarter.

In currency markets, the dollar index stood at 91.115 , down 0.1% on the day but still off a two-month trough of 90.422. The dollar ended April with a loss of 2% and has been pressured by the rapid expansion of the U.S. budget and trade deficits.

The euro rose 0.3% to $1.2051, having backtracked from a nine-week peak of $1.2149 on Friday.


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