12/02/2021 Stocks are trading with little fanfare this morning as holidays across Asia curb trading, and U.S. and European equity futures are little changed. Crude oil extended an overnight retreat.
Early gains fizzled for shares in Japan and Australian stocks slipped amid a snap lockdown for Victoria state. S&P 500 futures dipped after the benchmark on Thursday eked out a gain to close at an all-time high. Strength in tech shares ensured the Nasdaq 100 outperformed. Applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits fell slightly last week in a sign that the labor market is still gradually improving. The dollar firmed against most G-10 peers and Treasuries edged higher.
Locally the JSE snapped a Six-day rally, with the All-Share closing down 0.41% at 65882The Rand remains firm at R 14.63/$ and R 20.19/GBP. The President focused mainly on economic recovery and a tougher stance on corruption during his SONA 2021 speech.
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The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up around 0.5%, with tech stocks leading the gains as most sectors and major bourses finished in positive territory. Futures this morning are pretty flat across the region.
Overnight the Dow dipped slightly from a previous record, closing down just 0.02%, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite both fluctuated and eked out record closing highs, closing up 0.17 and 0.38 percent respectively. The Dow has gained 0.9% this week, bringing its February gains to 4.8%. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rose 0.8% and 1.2%, respectively, week to date, and they have rallied 5.4% and 7.3% this month.
Major indexes in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Singapore are closed for the Lunar New Year holiday. In Australia, the benchmark ASX 200 dropped 0.66%, with the financials, energy and materials subindexes struggling for gains, among others. The Australian state of Victoria is set to enter a five-day lockdown beginning at 11:59 p.m. local time until Feb. 17. Japanese markets resumed trading after being closed Thursday for a public holiday. The Nikkei 225 declined 0.28% while the Topix index traded near flat.
Oil slipped below $58 a barrel as a recent rally fizzled with the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to weigh on the demand outlook and as one technical indicator signalled prices may have climbed too far, too fast.
Futures in New York fell for a second session on Friday after surging more than 12% for the longest run of gains in two years. The enduring outbreak continues to crimp fuel consumption from China to the U.S., with the International Energy Agency cutting its demand forecast for 2021 and describing the market as fragile. The U.S. government earlier this week also predicted the nation’s petroleum demand will likely need much more time to recover.
Despite the bearish sentiment, oil is still set to eke out a weekly gain and some are optimistic on the longer term outlook, including the IEA. Citigroup is predicting Brent crude may hit $70 a barrel by year-end.
Gold fell 1% overnight, as the dollar halted its slide, while platinum also eased in choppy trading after rallying to an over six-year high with analysts expecting further upside driven by higher demand from the automobile sector. Gold is 0.1% lower at $ 1823, Investor interest seems to have shifted to platinum which has enjoyed a $150 rally over the past week though there is some profit-taking at current levels. Platinum eased 0.8% to $1230 per ounce, having jumped as much as 2.2% to its highest level since January 2015 at $1268, Palladium fell 0.7% to $2339.32.