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Global stocks hold near peak, equity futures mixed: markets wrap

The US dollar paused a series of declines.
Image: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

Global stocks held around record levels Friday after surprisingly robust American economic data sent US equity indexes to all-time highs. Yields on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes held a drop.

MSCI Inc.’s Asia-Pacific gauge rose but more modestly than the Wall Street rally. China outperformed, after data showed the nation’s economy soared in the first quarter as consumer spending strengthened, suggesting a more balanced recovery.

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European equity contracts climbed and US futures ticked lower after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 hit all-time highs on strong retail sales and jobless claims figures. Financials weakened amid the slide in bond yields, even after Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. beat trading-revenue forecasts.

Traders suggested foreign buying and geopolitical risks may have contributed to the rally in Treasuries, with many investors caught positioned for further weakness. The US dollar paused a series of declines.

Equities have scaled fresh peaks amid the rebound in global growth, confidence in continued central bank policy support and some upbeat corporate earnings. The rally in government bonds highlights persistent risks, however, with some countries facing spikes in Covid-19 infections and setbacks in vaccine rollouts.

The bond market’s surge is “one of the more confusing dynamics in markets” at the moment, said Michael Arone, investment strategist at State Street Global Advisors. “Part of it is that you saw the 10-year make a very rapid move over a very short period of time, so this could be a pause before it starts to move higher again.”

The China figures showed gross domestic product climbed a record 18.3% in the first quarter from a year earlier, but that quarter-on-quarter growth eased to 0.6%. Retail sales beat expectations while industrial output moderated.

Elsewhere, oil headed for the biggest weekly gain since early February on optimism about the recovery from the pandemic. Copper is on course for the best week in about two months.

These are some of the main moves in financial markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures dipped 0.1% as of 6:58 a.m. in London. The index rose 1.1%.
  • Japan’s Topix Index added 0.1%.
  • Shanghai Composite Index increased 0.9%.
  • Hang Seng Index was little climbed 0.8%.
  • South Korea’s Kospi Index rose 0.1%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 0.1%.
  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures added 0.2%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.
  • The euro was at $1.1970.
  • The Japanese yen was at 108.81 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan was little changed at 6.5282 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries held at 1.58%.
  • Australia’s 10-year yield was four basis points lower at 1.73%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.5% to $63.80 a barrel.
  • Gold traded around $1 765 an ounce.
© 2021 Bloomberg

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