Stocks Climb With U.S. Futures on Easing Lockdowns: Markets Wrap

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European stocks rose alongside U.S. equity futures on Tuesday, with sentiment buoyed as more economies moved toward easing their coronavirus lockdowns. Oil gained for a fifth day, on course for its longest winning streak in nine months.

Almost every sector climbed as the Stoxx Europe 600 advanced after slumping a day earlier and missing out on a late rebound for U.S. stocks. Energy shares led the rally amid the recovery in crude, with Total SA among the big winners even after reporting a 35% plunge infirst-quarter profit. BNP Paribas SA also rose despite setting aside cash to cover problem loans and warning full-year earnings will take a pounding from the pandemic. S&P 500 futures climbed as the dollar strengthened a third day.

The euro fell as investors scrutinized averdict from Germany’s top judges over the legality of European Central Bank stimulus. They ruled that some actions taken by the country’s Bundesbank to participate in the asset purchase program were unconstitutional. Bonds in the region turned lower led byItalian debt.

“There is reaction among euro area government bonds, but this ruling in Germany is not definitive for sentiment today on global markets,” said Stephen Gallo, head of European FX strategy at the Bank of Montreal. “Signs that lockdowns aren’t being severely re-tightened are setting the tone.”

22,335 in U.S.Most new cases today

-17% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​064 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-0.​5% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), March


Efforts by many major economies to start easing restrictions that have helped contain the coronavirus pandemic are inspiring a fragile confidence in markets. However stocks remain on shaky ground as U.S.-China tension flares, and investors weigh the chances of a second wave of infections as well as a steady stream of bad economic data.

As global deaths from the pandemic topped 251,000, California, the first state to shut down its economy over Covid-19, said it will start loosening its lockdown on Friday. Italy began to reopen its economy after two months, but the premier’s plan was criticized for being too cautious. Spain started to relax its lockdown regime after weeks of confinement. Hong Kong’s leader said the city may relax virus restrictions “soon.”

In Asia, Australia’s dollar pared gains after its central bank left ratesunchanged. Markets were closed in Japan, China and South Korea.

Here are some key events coming up:

  • Regional Federal Reserve chiefs are due to speak, including Charles Evans and James Bullard.
  • The Bank of England has a policy decision on Thursday.
  • Friday brings the U.S. jobs report for April, expected to show a severe impact from the pandemic. The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists calls for a 21 million plunge in payrolls.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index decreased 1% as of 5:31 a.m. New York time.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 1.2%.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.5%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index increased 0.3%.
  • The euro decreased 0.7% to $1.0831.
  • The British pound was little changed at $1.2439.
  • The Japanese yen weakened 0.1% to 106.83 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries jumped four basis points to 0.67%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield climbed two basis points to -0.54%.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield jumped less than one basis point to 0.234%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude surged 8.7% to $22.16 a barrel.
  • Gold weakened 0.3% to $1,697 an ounce.

— With assistance by Andreea Papuc

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