Global stocks advance after Trump signs USD900B aid package

BEIJING (AP) — Global stock markets and United States (US) futures rose yesterday after US President Donald Trump signed a USD900 billion economic aid package, helping to reduce uncertainty as governments re-impose travel and business curbs in response to a new coronavirus variant.

London and Frankfurt opened higher as traders returned to work following a three-day weekend. Shanghai and Tokyo also advanced.

Trump signed the measure, which also includes money for other government functions through September, despite expressing frustration that USD600 payments to the public were not bigger. His signature following last-minute objections helped to clear away uncertainty as reinstated travel and business curbs threaten to weigh on global economic activity.

“The stimulus balloon will allow the markets to navigate better the number of new air pockets showing up on the radar due to the virus’ latest variant,” said Stephen Innes of Axi in a report.

In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London rose 0.1 per cent to 6,502.11 and the DAX in Frankfurt advanced 1.2 per cent to 13,756.71. The CAC 40 in France gained 0.5 per cent to 5,548.55.

On Wall Street, the future for the benchmark S&P 500 index was 0.6 per cent higher and that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.4 per cent.

People walk by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo. PHOTO: AP

On Thursday, the S&P 500 index rose 0.4 per cent in its last pre-Christmas trading day. The Dow added 0.2 per cent. The Nasdaq composite gained 0.3 per cent.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index rose less than 0.1 per cent to 3,397.29 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.7 per cent to 26,854.03.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong declined 0.3 per cent to 26,314.63 after e-commerce giant Alibaba Group announced it was expanding a share buyback from USD6 billion to USD10 billion.

Alibaba shares declined seven per cent following last week’s announcement of an anti-monopoly investigation and the suspension of the stock market debut of Ant Group, an online finance platform in which Alibaba owns a 33 per cent stake.

In Seoul, the Kospi rose less than 0.1 per cent to 2,808.60 while India’s Sensex added 0.8 per cent to 47,336.65.

Singapore and Jakarta advanced. Australian markets were closed.

Investors have been encouraged by the development of coronavirus vaccines but that optimism has been dented by the discovery of the more contagious variant.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 21 cents to USD48.44 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Thursday, the contract rose 11 cents to close at USD48.23. Brent crude, the basis for pricing international oils, advanced 18 cents to USD51.52 per barrel in London. It rose nine cents the previous session to USD51.29 a barrel.

The dollar declined to JPY103.43 from Friday’s JPY103.68. The euro rose to USD1.2216 from USD1.2180.