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Stocks hover around record; dollar snaps slide: markets wrap

As investors weighed the economic rebound from the pandemic and stimulus support.
Image: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

Global stocks traded around all-time highs Wednesday as investors weighed the economic rebound from the pandemic and stimulus support. The dollar halted a four-day loss.

A gauge of Asia-Pacific equities fluctuated, as did US and European futures. Chinese stocks underperformed while Japan advanced. Toshiba Corp. shares are poised to surge after the company received an initial buyout offer from CVC Capital Partners. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 retreated overnight as volume on US exchanges slipped below 10 billion shares for the first time this year.

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Indian shares rallied after the central bank retained its accommodative stance, seeking to support an economy facing a resurgence of coronavirus infections.

Oil held above $59 a barrel amid optimism that economic expansion will pick up. The International Monetary Fund upgraded its global growth forecast while warning about a divergence between advanced and less-developed economies.

A global stock gauge is around unprecedented levels on expectations for continued central bank support and the strongest world expansion in at least four decades. Concerns about higher borrowing costs destabilizing the market have eased, with bond yields subsiding as traders pull their more-aggressive positioning for Federal Reserve policy tightening. Investors are awaiting the latest Fed minutes for clues about the outlook.

“Central banks are continuing to keep interest rates so low, so people are looking for some place to put their money where they can get a return,” Sarah Hunt, Alpine Woods Capital Investors associate portfolio manager, said on Bloomberg TV. “That’s also why you have stocks priced somewhat for perfection.”

US labour-market data showed job openings rose to a two-year high in February, led by gains in some of the industries hardest hit during the pandemic, adding to signs of a strengthening American rebound.

Some key events to watch this week:

  • The 2021 Spring Meetings of the IMF and the World Bank Group take place virtually. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell takes part in a panel about the global economy on Thursday.
  • The Fed publishes minutes from its March meeting on Wednesday.
  • Japan releases its balance of payments numbers Thursday.
  • China’s consumer and producer prices data are due Friday.

These are some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures were little changed as of 7 a.m. in London. The S&P 500 fell 0.1%.
  • Japan’s Topix Index added 0.5%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.5%.
  • South Korea’s Kospi Index climbed 0.3%.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.7%.
  • China’s Shanghai Composite Index shed 0.4%.
  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures were 0.2% lower.

Currencies

  • The yen was at 109.76 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan was at 6.5418 per dollar.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat.
  • The euro traded at $1.1875.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries was at 1.66%.
  • Australia’s 10-year yield fell three basis points to 1.75%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.2% to $59.48 a barrel.
  • Gold was at $1 738.48 an ounce, down 0.3%.
© 2021 Bloomberg

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The time is not far off when professional piano catchers will be in demand as the stock markets fall.

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