HONG KONG, Sept 3, 2020 (BSS/AFP) – Equities rallied in Asia on Thursday following another blow-out session on Wall Street as investors bet that the global economy is on the right track, fuelled by new vaccine hopes and central bank largesse.
Traders were even willing to overlook a well-below-forecast US private-sector jobs report and China-US tensions, with the fear of missing out on healthy returns keeping the money rolling into markets.
Payrolls firm ADP said the US added 428,000 new jobs in August, a third of what was expected, and boding ill ahead of the release of Friday’s much-anticipated government data, which is used as a guide for the state of the world’s top economy.
Still, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq clocked up yet more record highs and the Dow jumped an impressive 1.6 percent.
And analysts pointed out that the gains were beginning to broaden out from the technology giants who have helped power much of the past months’ surge.
“Quite why the rally has broadened out is frankly anyone’s guess, though both the ‘rates lower for longer’ and ‘vaccine round the corner’ pretexts received some (small) succour overnight,” said National Australia Bank’s Ray Attrill.
US officials have called on states to prepare to distribute a possible vaccine by November 1 — two days before the presidential election.
Robert Redfield, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in an August 27 letter that state leaders should consider waiving requirements that would “prevent these facilities from becoming fully operational by Nov. 1, 2020”.
The CDC explained details of a rollout plan, adding that they would either be approved as licensed vaccines or under emergency use authorisation.
– Stimulus struggle –
Donald Trump’s top infectious diseases official, Anthony Fauci, on Wednesday told NBC: “I believe that by the time we get to the end of this calendar year that we will feel comfortable that we do have a safe and effective vaccine.”
The New York rally seeped through to Asia on Thursday.
Tokyo, Seoul and Sydney were all more than one percent higher, Hong Kong and Shanghai added 0.4 percent apiece and Taipei put on one percent.
Manila and Wellington were also in positive territory.
“Markets continue to show unrestrained faith in the capacity of central bank liquidity to chart a relatively smooth path for the global economy out of the Covid challenges,” Stephen Miller at fund manager GSFM said.
Traders were keeping tabs on Capitol Hill, hoping US lawmakers will at some point reach an agreement on a new stimulus package, though expectations are not high.
Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said there were still big differences with Republicans following a phone call with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The two sides remain about a trillion dollars apart in their proposals and Pelosi has said she will not give in to pressure from the White House to pass a partial deal including areas they agree on, then discuss other issues at a later date.
Observers are also keeping an eye on China-US tensions after Washington’s decision to impose fresh restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the US, the latest salvo in a long-running standoff that includes issues from Hong Kong and the virus to technology and trade.
– Key figures around 0240 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.4 percent at 23,561.01 (break)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.4 percent at 25,209.78
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.4 percent at 3,419.57
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1834 from $1.1857 at 2050 GMT
Dollar/yen: UP at 106.25 yen from 106.16 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3338 from $1.3349
Euro/pound: DOWN at 88.73 from 88.78 pence
West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.3 percent at $41.64 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.2 percent at $44.51 per barrel
New York – Dow: UP 1.6 percent at 29,100.50 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 1.4 percent at 5,940.95 (close)