Global stocks rally again on expected Fed rate cuts, euro on defensive

A man stands in front of an electronic board showing the Nikkei stock index outside a brokerage in Tokyo. — Reuters pic
A man stands in front of an electronic board showing the Nikkei stock index outside a brokerage in Tokyo. — Reuters pic

TOKYO, July 4 ― Asian stocks advanced today, tracking sharp gains on Wall Street as recent data from multiple sectors pointed to slowing economic growth in the United States, bolstering the prospect of rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 per cent as did Japan's benchmark Nikkei , and Australia was up 0.6 per cent. A US public holiday kept activity somewhat subdued.

On Wall Street, which closed at midday yesterday for the eve of the US Independence Day, all three major stock indexes finished at a record closing highs as expectations grew that the Fed would take a more dovish turn.

A report by a payrolls processor ADP showed US companies added jobs in June, but fewer than what analysts had forecast, raising concerns the labour market is softening even as the current US economic expansion marked a record run last month,

“Stocks and bonds rallied together overnight as the markets were betting on interest rate cuts at the European Central Bank and the US Federal Reserve,” said Noriko Miyoshi, head of fixed income at Simplex Asset Management in Tokyo.

“The pace looks too fast. Investors across the world rushed to take part in the game of yield hunting,” she said.

Global sovereign bond rallied overnight. The 10-year Treasury note yield plunged to 1.939, a level last seen following Donald Trump's election as president in November 2016.

Most 10-year euro zone bond yields slid to fresh record lows yesterday as investors bet the ECB's dovish stance would continue, while the 10-year German Bund yield fell to minus 0.399 per cent, flirting with the ECB's minus 0.40 deposit rate.

European Union leaders' nomination of Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, to replace Mario Draghi as president of the ECB, reinforced expectations of more monetary policy easing if it's needed.

The 10-year Italian bond yield hitting 1.599 per cent, its lowest since October 2016 as the government eases its budget ambitions.

The market's next focus is US non-farm payrolls for June, due tomorrow.

In the foreign exchange market, the euro traded at US$1.1288 (RM4.6644), near its two-week low of US$1.1268 set the previous day.

The dollar was little changed at ¥107.72, losing steam as the fall this week in US bond yields.

The British pound stood at 1.2580, having hit a two-week low of US$1.2557 as economic data reinforced expectations that the Bank of England would join its central bank counterparts in cutting interest rates to shore up a worsening economic outlook.

In commodities, oil prices slipped today after edging higher the previous day.

Brent crude futures traded down 0.4 per cent at US$63.58 per barrel in early Asian trade today, while US crude futures fetched US$57.15 per barrel, down 0.3 per cent. ― Reuters

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