Global stocks rise more, but virus fears keep optimism under control

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Asian stock markets rose on Friday but are set to end a hectic week with only slight gains as rising coronavirus infections cast a shadow over encouraging economic data and verified hopes for a rapid global recovery. .

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask, after the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), walks in front of a stock listing table outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, May 18, 2020 REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon / File Photo

MSCI’s broader index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 0.5%, for a weekly gain of around 0.7%.

Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.3% to rise 0.4% more during the week.

Bulls appear to have the upper hand in the currency markets, with the US dollar falling 0.3% during the week, and riskier currencies like the Australian dollar marginally ahead.

US stock futures were 0.1% higher in the afternoon trade in Asia, while European futures noted that small gains on Thursday extended. German DAX futures, British FTSE futures, and EuroSTOXX 50 futures were up approximately 1%.

“We are stuck in a range,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at AMP Capital in Sydney. “There is some optimism that any second wave will be offset by the stimulus … but if we have to go back to a renewed blockade, then it is a different story, and the markets face much more negative risk.”

The moves followed an uneven session on Wall Street, which ended in positive territory after a late rise led by bank stocks.

Still, volumes were light and many headwinds remain.

The Texas governor paused at the reopening of the state as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations increased and the United States set a new record for a one-day increase in cases.

Localized restrictions to curb the virus have now been re-imposed in parts of Lisbon in Portugal, West Germany, the Australian state of Victoria and Beijing. Australia’s largest grocery store also reset toilet paper buying limits after another in-store fever.

The US Senate also passed legislation that would impose mandatory sanctions on individuals or companies that support China’s efforts to restrict Hong Kong’s autonomy, another potential Sino-American hotspot.

To become law, it must also pass the House and be signed by President Donald Trump. Support for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests has dwindled, but maintains the backing of a slim majority, a Reuters poll showed.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.6% on Friday, after being closed for a holiday on Thursday. The markets in China and Taiwan remain closed.

The US Treasury market was quiet, with the 10-year Treasury yield stable at 0.6807%. Gold held steady at $ 1,759.81 an ounce.


The tug of war between bulls and bears this week has pushed the S&P 500 ahead 1.8% and up 2.4% for the week, with Thursday’s earnings leaving it unchanged.

The currency markets have also stagnated as the progress of the virus reduces confidence in betting on new gains in higher risk currencies.

“After rising for three consecutive months, some recovery in equity and currency investment may be paid in July,” strategists at Singapore’s DBS Bank said in a note on Friday.

“We would avoid the currencies, the Indonesian rupiah, the Australian dollar and the New Zealand dollar, which appreciated more in June and in the second quarter.”

The moves in the majors were small on Friday, with the Aussie stable at $ 0.6889, an increase of 0.8% during the week, and the kiwi advancing to $ 0.6444, for a weekly gain of 0.6%. The Australian has risen 25% from the March lows and the kiwi 18%.

After a mix of data from the United States overnight, markets are looking for assurances from European confidence surveys and data on United States spending to be released later on Friday.

Oil prices, a barometer of energy consumption and, therefore, the outlook for global growth, advanced to stay stable during the week.

US crude oil futures rose 1.3% or 49 cents to $ 39.21 a barrel and Brent futures rose 1.4% to $ 41.62 a barrel.

Report by Tom Westbrook in Singapore. Additional reports by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; Sam Holmes and Richard Pullin Edition

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