(March 29): Asian markets Monday suggest a muted response to a surge of block trades that wiped US$35 billion from bellwether stocks, overshadowing a record close on Wall Street last week.
U.S. equity futures edged lower at the open and futures pointed higher in Japan and Australia earlier. Still, the weekend revelations about a blitz of deals that roiled stocks including Baidu Inc. and ViacomCBS Inc. have raised questions about who sold and whether more are coming. The family office of former Tiger Management trader Bill Hwang was behind unprecedented sales of some U.S. stocks Friday, according to two people directly familiar with the trades.
A late-session boost saw the S&P 500 Index climb the most in three weeks to end at a fresh all-time high, with energy producers and health companies among the best performers. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields rose to 1.68%.
“Shares remain at risk of further volatility from rising bond yields,” said Diana Mousina, senior economist at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., in a note. “But looking through the inevitable short-term noise, the combination of improving global growth helped by more stimulus, vaccines, negative real yields and still low interest rates augurs well for growth assets generally in 2021.”
The strength of the recovery and attending inflation risks are front of mind for investors, as U.S. Presiden Biden plans to unveil an infrastructure spending program this week. Labor-market data will also be center-stage, with the U.S. unemployment report on Friday expected to show the strongest rebound in nonfarm payrolls in months. Expanding vaccinations and a pickup in economic activity are likely to have supported hiring.
Oil slipped as traders will continue to watch efforts to dislodge a gigantic ship stuck in the Suez Canal, which has driven swings in the price of oil. Bitcoin was trading around US$55,000.
Some key events to watch this week:
China manufacturing PMI due Tuesday.
President Biden is expected to unveil his infrastructure program Wednesday.
EIA crude inventory report Wednesday.
OPEC+ meets to discuss production levels for May on Thursday.
China Caixin PMI due Thursday.
U.S. employment report for March on Friday.
Good Friday starts Easter weekend in countries including the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Australia and Canada.
These are some of the main moves in financial markets:
S&P 500 futures slipped 0.2% as of 7:07 a.m. in Tokyo. The S&P 500 Index climbed 1.7% Friday.
Nikkei 225 futures rose 1.2% earlier.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index futures rose 0.7%.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index futures fell 0.1% earlier.
The yen was at 109.68 per dollar.
The offshore yuan was at 6.5420 per dollar.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.2%.
The euro traded at US$1.1792.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries added four basis points to 1.68% Friday.
Australia’s 10-year bond yield climbed about five basis points to 1.71%.
West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.7% to US$60.56 a barrel.
Gold was at US$1,731.26 an ounce.