"Stimulus plan approval a relief to many investors"
Global shares rose on Monday, buoyed by the passing of US President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion spending package and by a retreat in bond yields, which soothed some concern among investors about a potential shift in the Federal Reserve's ultra-accommodative monetary policy. Equities, industrial commodities and emerging-market currencies in particular gained ground. House Democrats approved Biden's emergency spending package in a near-party line vote on Saturday, moving ahead far-reaching legislation aimed at distributing new federal dollars to hard-hit households, businesses, and other parts of the US economy.
Government bond yields, which surged last week as investors began to factor in a sharp pickup in growth and inflation, subsided, giving equities some much-needed respite. US 10-year yields, which move inversely to their price, were last down 4 basis points around 1.41%. The 10-year Treasury note hit a one-year high above 1.5% last week, which briefly sparked concern about the risk of a meltdown in the fixed income market. "One of the reasons behind the sharp fall in bond prices has been an expectation that the new $1.9trn stimulus plan, which passed through the House of Representatives at the end of last week, and now about to make its way through the Senate, could set off an inflationary impulse with markets starting to price in the prospect of a rate rise next year, and potentially another one the year after," Michael Hewson, CMC Markets chief markets strategist, said. US stock futures rallied, pointing to a strong start to trade later in the day in the benchmark indices. Futures on the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones rose by around 1.2%, while those on the Nasdaq 100 gained 1.5%. In Asia, the major indices rose overnight, with the Shanghai Composite up 1.2%, the Hang Seng up 1.3% and the Nikkei up 2.4% following a strong reading of Japanese manufacturing activity.
"Markets in Japan, Australia, China and Hong Kong all rose overnight, marking a more positive start to the new month, after a dismal end to February that saw heavy losses for most global indices," analysts at broker IG said in a daily note. "Bonds also rose, taking some heat out of the rising yield trade that has so unnerved investors in recent weeks, although it is far from clear that the rapid appreciation in yields is over," they added.
In Europe, the STOXX 600 gained 1.7% in early trade, lifted by economically sensitive sectors, such as oil and gas, mining stocks and technology. London's FTSE 100, which is one of the cyclically weighted indices, was one of the strongest performing regional benchmarks, with a daily increase of 1.7%.
German 10-year bond yields were down 4 basis points at -0.30%, while 10-year UK gilts were 5 basis points lower on the day at 0.774%. The dollar fell fairly broadly, losing ground against commodity-linked currencies, like the Australian and Canadian dollars, as well as emerging-market currencies, such as the Turkish lira, the Thai baht and the Mexican peso. Against a basket of major currencies, the dollar was mostly unchanged on the day, thanks to modest strength against the euro and the Japanese yen. With the prospect of more economic stimulus now a given, crude oil and copper picked up steam. Brent crude futures rose 1.9% to around $65.62 a barrel, while WTI futures also gained 1.9% to trade around $62.66 a barrel.
Benchmark London Metal Exchange copper futures rose 1.5% to around $9,125 a tonne, close to last week's nine-year highs.