Stocks gain on brisk factory surveys, stimulus hopes - Inside Financial Markets

Stocks gain on brisk factory surveys, stimulus hopes

Asian shares inched up on Wednesday following buoyant manufacturing indicators from the United States and elsewhere and a rally in U.S. tech shares, with investors also expecting more policy support from Washington.

European stocks are expected to follow Asia’s upbeat lead, with pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 futures STXEc1 up 0.64% and German DAX futures FDXc1 up 0.75%. FTSE futures FFIc1 traded 0.86% higher.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS gained 0.3% while Japan’s Nikkei .N225 advanced 0.5%. In China, the bellwether CSI300 index .CSI300 rose 0.2%.

On Wall Street, both the S&P 500 .SPX and Nasdaq .IXIC boasted record closing highs, with the technology sector leading the charge.

Apple AAPL.O, the world’s biggest company by market capitalisation, rose just under 4% to take its value to almost $2.3 trillion after a media report that the company had asked suppliers to make at least 75 million 5G iPhones for later this year. (Full Story)

U.S. manufacturing indicators showed expansion, with the reading from the Institute for Supply Management hitting its highest level in nearly two years. (Full Story)

“On top of the strong headline figure, looking at new orders and inventories components in the survey, the manufacturing sector looks unlikely to falter any time soon,” said Shogo Maekawa, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management.

Euro zone manufacturing activity also grew last month to stay on a path toward recovery, though factory managers remained wary about investing and hiring more workers. (Full Story)

“At the moment the market is seeing a lot of positive momentum,” said Greg Boutle, U.S. head of equity and derivative strategy at BNP Paribas in New York. “If you get OK-to-good data and anything from the political landscape that looks like its moving more toward a compromise that’s constructive for markets.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Tuesday he would telephone House Speaker Nancy Pelosi about stalled coronavirus aid negotiations later in the day. (Full Story)

White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said Senate Republicans are likely to bring up a targeted COVID-19 relief bill next week. (Full Story)

The U.S. Federal Reserve dabbed in more support for the economy as Governor Lael Brainard said the central bank would need to provide more stimulus to fulfil its promise of stronger job growth and higher inflation. (Full Story)

Brainard’s comments helped to push down the 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield US10YT=RR to 0.680% from above 0.7%. Last week it rose to as high as 0.789%, the highest in 2-1/2 months.

“We are entering the second stage of central bank-financed government stimulus,” said Hiroshi Watanabe, senior economist at Sony Financial Holdings.

“This means U.S. nominal bond interest rates will be kept low and real interest rates will decline. The dollar will continue to fall while boosting various asset prices from gold to stocks.”

The yield on inflation-protected U.S. Treasuries 10YTIP=RR, or real U.S. yields, remained depressed at minus 1.092%, near a record low of minus 1.111% hit last month.

The strong manufacturing data also helped the U.S. dollar claw back losses a tad for now after it hit a 28-month low against a basket of currencies on Tuesday.

The dollar index =USD stood at 92.381, off Tuesday’s low of 91.737.

The euro changed hands at $1.1905 EUR=, flat on the day after touching above $1.20 for the first time since 2018 during Tuesday’s trading.

The dollar was firm on the yen at 106.04 yen JPY=.

The Australian dollar lost as much as 0.5% to $0.7338 AUD=D4, after GDP data showed the Australian economy suffered a deeper-than-expected 7% contraction in the last quarter, its worst economic downturn on record and confirming its first recession in about three decades. (Full Story)

Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose 0.9% to $46.01 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate futures CLc1 gained 1.0% to $43.18 a barrel.

Syed Zaki Hussain

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