Stocks in Europe and Asia gained along with American equity-index futures as investors weighed more signs of economies reopening around the world against the rise in U.S.-China tensions. The dollar was steady, and crude oil held last week’s strong gains.
Construction and healthcare shares led a broad advance in the Euro Stoxx Index, with Bayer AG jumping almost nine per cent after Bloomberg reported it reached agreements to resolve some cancer lawsuits over its Roundup weedkiller. Contracts on all three major U.S. gauges rose. In Asia, Hong Kong shares inched higher after Friday’s slump, following police clashes at the weekend with protesters marching against China’s move to crack down on dissent. Benchmarks in Tokyo and Sydney led advances in the region’s stocks.
Volumes may be light with holidays in the U.S., U.K. and Singapore. Treasuries weren’t trading, and futures on the 10-year note were little changed. China set its daily yuan reference rate at the weakest level since 2008 after the increasing acrimony drove the currency to a seven-month low on Friday. A benchmark of emerging-market stocks headed for its first rise in three sessions.
While fresh turmoil in Hong Kong is threatening to damage an already souring Sino-U.S. relationship, investors are looking to the reopening of economies from Japan to Australia and the U.S. to provide impetus to global stock markets, which remain about 30% higher than the March lows. A rise in a gauge of German business expectations provided another glimmer of hope for equity bulls.
“One big threat to the recovery in markets is the escalating war of words between the U.S. and China,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital Investors Ltd. in Sydney. “The main focus will likely remain on continuing evidence that the number of new COVID-19 cases is slowing in developed countries, progress towards medical solutions, the reopening of economies and signs that economic activity is picking up.”
Here are some key events coming up:
- U.S. markets are closed Monday for Memorial Day holiday, while the U.K. is shut for the Spring bank holiday.
- Earnings continue with companies including Nissan Motor, British Land, Royal Bank of Canada and HP Inc.
- Singapore’s parliament on Tuesday is expected to announce another stimulus package.
- Thursday brings the U.S. jobless claims reading for the week ended May 23.
- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell participates in a virtual discussion on Friday.
These are the main moves in markets:
- The Euro Stoxx Index gained 1.5 per cent as of 12:42 p.m. in London.
- Futures on the S&P 500 rose one per cent.
- The MSCI Asia-Pacific Index climbed 0.9 per cent.
- Japan’s Topix index advanced 1.7 per cent.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.1 per cent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.
- The yen was little changed at 107.70 per dollar.
- The euro was little changed at $1.0900.
- Germany’s 10-year yield fell 1 basis point to -0.49 per cent.
- West Texas Intermediate crude added one per cent to US$33.57 a barrel.
- Gold dipped 0.4 per cent to US$1,727.67 an ounce.
–With assistance from Srinivasan Sivabalan, Joanna Ossinger and Adam Haigh.