European stocks jumped, with miners and energy firms among the biggest gainers as commodities get a boost from the weakest dollar since 2018.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose at the open, led higher by cyclical shares, as crude oil futures in New York approached $50 a barrel. OPEC+ will decide on Monday whether it can continue to restore crude supplies without capsizing the price recovery. Gold climbed more than 1% to the highest in almost two months, while the dollar fell and Treasury yields climbed.
Shares jumped in South Korea and Australia, but underperformed in Japan after Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said he’s considering declaring a state of emergency for the Tokyo area to stem a surge in virus infections. S&P 500 futures edged higher.
Equities are beginning the new year at rich valuations amid expectations that widespread vaccine distribution in 2021, central bank support and government aid will reignite economic growth and boost corporate profits. Purchasing managers indexes showed factory activity across Asia continued to gain momentum in December, spurred by strong demand for the region’s exports, though China’s recovery is starting to moderate.
“Covid cases and vaccine distribution will remain the key focus for investors for now,” said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “Without the wide distribution of vaccines, the paths of Covid and the economy are locked together, given the impact on social mobility and economic curtailment. This link will be broken as immunity levels rise into the middle of the year, but until then the economic path will be bumpy over the first quarter.”
Elsewhere, Bitcoin held onto much of its weekend gains after topping $34,000 for the first time on Sunday.
On the coronavirus front, global infections climbed above 85 million, after U.S. daily cases soared to a record of nearly 300,000 after the New Year holiday. The U.K. is poised to give the first shots of the vaccine from AstraZeneca Plc and the University of Oxford on Monday, in a race against a faster-spreading variant that’s prompted new lockdowns across much of the country.
What to watch this week:
- OPEC+ alliance energy ministers hold their monthly virtual gathering Monday to decide whether to add as much as 500,000 barrels a day to production.
- In the U.S. Tuesday, the state of Georgia holds a run-off election for two U.S. Senate seats that will decide control of the chamber.
- U.S. Congress meets to count electoral votes and declare the winner of the 2020 Presidential election Wednesday.
- FOMC minutes out Wednesday.
- U.S. unemployment report for December is due Friday.
These are the main moves in markets:
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.4% as of 8:27 a.m. London time.
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index surged 1.2%.
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index increased 0.8%.
- The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained 1.1%.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.4%.
- The euro increased 0.5% to $1.227.
- The British pound was little changed at $1.3677.
- The onshore yuan strengthened 1% to 6.463 per dollar.
- The Japanese yen strengthened 0.3% to 102.86 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries gained two basis points to 0.93%.
- The yield on two-year Treasuries was unchanged at 0.12%.
- Germany’s 10-year yield sank three basis points to -0.60%.
- Britain’s 10-year yield fell three basis points to 0.169%.
- Japan’s 10-year yield was unchanged at 0.021%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude gained 2% to $49.49 a barrel.
- Brent crude surged 2.2% to $52.96 a barrel.
- Gold strengthened 1.8% to $1,933.30 an ounce.