Asian stocks jump as revived recovery hopes push Wall St to new highs

Asian stocks jump as revived recovery hopes push Wall St to new highs

By Imani Moise

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian stocks opened higher on Friday, with Japan hitting a three-decade high as investors looked beyond rising coronavirus cases and political unrest in the United States and bet on an economic recovery later in the year.

Futures for the S&P 500 jumped 1.48% and Japan's Nikkei 225 rose 0.84%, hitting its highest level since August 1990.

The broadly upbeat mood came after Wall Street hit record highs on Thursday while bond prices fell as markets bet a new Democrat-controlled government would lead to heavy spending and borrowing to support the U.S. economic recovery.

"We're sure to see a synchronised global recovery in the second half of this year," said ING analyst Carsten Brzeski.

"Right now, there's lots of concern about the virus and noise surrounding the vaccine. But we need to take a slightly longer view."

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained a more moderate 0.16% after that nation's Queensland state enforced a three-day lockdown in its capital following the discovery of a case of the more contagious UK variant of COVID-19.

Hong Kong's futures lost 0.02% after reports that the Trump administration was considering banning U.S. entities from investing in an expanded list of Chinese companies in the waning days of the presidency.

U.S. government officials have begun weighing removing President Donald Trump from office before President-Elect Joe Biden's inauguration date of Jan. 20 after he incited a violent riot against at the U.S. Capitol building.

On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.69%, the S&P 500 gained 1.48% and the Nasdaq Composite added 2.56%. MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.18%.

Benchmark yields hit their highest level in 10 months as U.S Treasuries continued to sell off. Benchmark 10-year notes last fell 12/32 in price to yield 1.0812%. The 30-year bond last fell 27/32 in price to yield 1.859%.

The dollar also strengthened on hopes of a meaningful economic recovery later this year.

The dollar index rose 0.53% against a basket of currencies to 89.785 with the euro down 0.43% to $1.2272.

Bitcoin topped $40,000 for the first time on Thursday, as the digital currency continued to be in high demand from institutional and retail investors alike. Bitcoin was last up 6.1% at $39,100 but market watchers say a pull back is likely.

Strength in the dollar weighed on gold prices.

Spot gold fell 0.3% to $1,913.87 per ounce but U.S. gold futures inched 0.3% higher to settle at $1,913.60.

Oil traders continued to focus on Saudi Arabia's pledge to deepen production cuts.

Brent crude settled up 8 cents to $54.38 a barrel after touching $54.90, a high not seen since before the first COVID-19 lockdowns in the West. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) settled up 20 cents to $50.83, after hitting a session high at $51.28.

Original Article

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