Global markets poised at record highs

by Jonathan Adams
Equity

Equity benchmarks in Japan, Australia and South Korea gained, while U.S. futures were in the green

Stocks in Asia edged higher at the open, with global markets poised at all-time highs as investors assess the pace of the recovery from the Covid crisis. Treasuries held gains.

Equity benchmarks in Japan, Australia and South Korea gained. U.S. futures were in the green as technology companies led a modest decline in the S&P 500 Index on Tuesday, offsetting advances in retailers. The Nasdaq 100 also retreated in low activity. Volume on U.S. exchanges dropped below 10 billion shares for the first time this year.

Oil wobbled as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) upgraded its global growth forecast for the second time in three months, countering worries about rise in Covid-19 infections in parts of the world. The dollar stabilized after falling against major peers.

Traders are taking heart from the assurance of continued central bank support and an improving growth outlook. The IMF opened its spring meetings with forecasts for the strongest global growth in at least four decades. Worries about higher borrowing costs destabilizing the market have also eased, with bond yields subsiding as traders pull their more-aggressive positioning for Federal Reserve policy tightening.

Central banks are continuing to keep interest rates so low so people are looking for some place to put their money where they can get a return, Sarah Hunt, Alpine Woods Capital Investors associate portfolio manager, said on Bloomberg TV. I think that’s also why you have stocks priced somewhat for perfection.

The latest U.S. labour-market data showed U.S. job openings rose to a two-year high in February, led by gains in some of the industries hardest hit during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the fallout from the blowup at Archegos Capital Management is still playing out, as Credit Suisse Group AG unloaded over $2 billion of shares in the latest block trades stemming from the liquidation of Bill Hwang’s fund.



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