Global shares rise amid hopes for global economic rebound

TOKYO (AP) — Global shares rose yesterday, echoing a rally on Wall Street, as hopes grew for a gradual global economic recovery from the damage of the coronavirus pandemic.

France’s CAC 40 rose 0.6 per cent in early trading to 5,643.50, while Germany’s DAX inched down less than 0.16 per cent to 14,053.69. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up nearly 0.16 per cent to 6,508.33. United States (US) shares were set to open higher, with Dow futures up nearly 0.26 per cent at 31,002. S&P 500 futures were also up 0.26 per cent at 3,872.38.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 surged 1.56 per cent to finish at 28,779.19. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 1.16 per cent to 6,840.50, and South Korea’s Kospi climbed 1.16 per cent to 3,120.63. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 0.66 per cent to 29,279.74, while the Shanghai Composite fell 0.26 per cent to 3,496.33.

Asian markets got a lift from positive employment data from the US, which has set off a mood of “confidence about the US economy getting back on its feet”, said Venkateswaran Lavanya of Mizuho Bank in Singapore.

An apparent sign in global data of a gradual decline in COVID-19 cases is also nurturing hopes for a rebound. So are rollouts of COVID-19 vaccines, Lavanya said.

Global investors are watching various company earnings reports. There is also optimism that Washington can reach a deal for another round of fiscal stimulus for millions of Americans.

Traders gather at a post on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange. PHOTO: AP

Financial and technology companies led the way. Small-company stocks also had a strong showing, another bullish signal that investors are feeling more optimistic about the economy.

“There are a lot of reasons to be optimistic and, obviously, there’s a tremendous amount of stimulus in the system with talks of more,” Brian Price, head of investment management for Commonwealth Financial Network.

In Washington, President Joe Biden urged Democrats lawmakers to “act fast” on his economic stimulus plan but also said he’s open to changes. Democrats and Republicans remain far apart on support for President Joe Biden’s USD1.9 trillion stimulus package, but investors are betting that the administration will opt for a reconciliation process to get the legislation through Congress.

In economic data, the number of Americans who filed for unemployment benefits fell below 800,000 last week, which was better than economist expectations but still remains high due to the pandemic. The Labour Department reported its jobs data for January yesterday.

In energy trading, US benchmark crude added 30 cents to USD56.53 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 54 cents to USD56.23 per barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 29 cents to USD59.13 a barrel.

In currencies, the US dollar was trading at JPY105.50, down from JPY105.54. The euro cost USD1.1965, down from USD1.1967.