Futures on Wall Street’s three main indexes continue to ascend after equities gained over 1% on Friday. The stock market showed a mixed performance last week, as focus oscillated between the vaccine news and the surging number of COVID infections. Now investors turned again to optimism surrounding the vaccine produced by Pfizer. Also, President Donald Trump admitted for the first time that Joe Biden won, though he still refuses to concede.
Futures on all three indexes are up about 0.90%.
Last week, the S&P 500 ended at a record closing high, adding 2.2% for the week. The Dow surged over 4% for the week as investors dumped tech stocks and focused on value shares instead. The Nasdaq fell 0.6%.
As of now, there are over 11 million coronavirus infections confirmed in the US, with many states returning to restrictive measures. New Jersey saw a new daily record in the number of COVID cases on Saturday, while Illinois and Ohio updated their records in the previous day.
In Asia, stocks hit a new record high in early trading on Monday on vaccine optimism and the world’s largest regional free-trade agreement that was signed in the weekend by fifteen countries. The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership trade deal includes China, Japan, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, and members of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations. Together, the countries account for a third of the world’s population and GDP. The document was signed during the final day of the 37th Asean Summit, which was hosted by Vietnam but virtually.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan added 1% to the highest since its launch in 1987.
At the time of writing, China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.78%, and the Shenzhen Component has added 0.49%. Data released earlier on Monday showed that China’s industrial production surged 6.9% y/y last month, beating analysts’ expectations of 6.5% growth and keeping on par with the September figure. Elsewhere, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.3% from September’s 5.4%. Also, retail sales rose 4.3% y/y in October, down from the expected 4.9% increase but much higher than September’s growth of 3.3%. All in all, the Chinese economy continues to recover from COVID damage.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is up 0.57%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 closed over 2% higher to hit the highest level in about three decades. The country reported the biggest economic growth in the third quarter, rebounding from the biggest decline after World War 2 in the previous quarter. The recovery has been driven by exports and consumption. Japan’s GDP added 21.5% in the three months to September, topping forecasts of an 18.9% increase. Still, analysts warn that the economy would struggle to bounce back further given the resurgence in COVID infections.
South Korea’s KOSPI has surged 1.82%.
In Australia, the ASX 200 closed 1.23% higher. The bourse had to halt trading temporarily right after the market opened, with the operator now investigating market data issues.
In the commodity market, oil prices are bullish at the start of the week, recovering some of the previous losses. Crude prices are increasing on hopes that OPEC+ would maintain current production cuts. Besides this, the rebound in Asian economies, such as China and Japan, is expected to support fuel demand. WTI is up 1.45% to $40.72, and Brent has gained 1.19% to $43.28. Last week, both brands surged over 8% on the vaccine news.
Gold is increasing on Monday morning as the number of COVID cases continue to accelerate, especially in the US and Europe. The metal is up 0.07% to $1,888.
In FX, the US dollar is declining on the same pessimism over pandemic resurgence. The USD Index is down 0.17% to 92.593. EUR/USD is up 0.14% to 1.1848.
The pound has gained in pair with both the euro and the USD, after Environment Secretary George Eustice told BBC that the sensitive issues between the UK and European Union can be solved and that “agreement exists” between the two. Still, time is running out, and there is still no major breakthrough.