U.s Weekly Jobless Claims Boosts Investor Sentiment; Futures Dip.

29/01/2021 Wall Street started the day strong after U.S. jobless claims data came in better than expected, signalling that job cuts may be easing; Wall Street has been gripped by a coordinated assault by small traders organising over online forums, such as Reddit, to force hedge-funds to reverse short positions .Asian stocks losing momentum on Friday and U.S. equity futures retreated amid concerns about a cash squeeze in China. Hong Kong and Shanghai both up, while Japan and Australia slipped. S&P 500 futures slipped 1% after rebounding from its worse loss since October.

The JSE closed firm 0.7% to 63,206 points and the Top- 40 0.8% following positive earnings and economic data in the world’s biggest economy. The dollar weakened against the euro and pound after a report showed US economic growth slowed in the final quarter of 2020, the local currency firmed up to R15.1200 after market close. Top-40 futures, IG markets, are currently -220 points below the waterline.

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European equities markets managed to close in the green on Thursday, albeit investors continuing to fret about more contagious variants of the coronavirus.The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the day up 0.10%, alongside the German Dax gaining 0.33% as Germany was preparing entry restrictions for travellers from Brazil, Britain and South Africa given the new strains of the virus. The FTSE 100 ended the session down 0.63%. Brussels has complained over the UK government’s decision to hoard locally-produced doses.

The S&P 500 bounced back from its worst selloff in three months as trading platforms restricted activity in several stocks that had surged amid a retail-driven short squeeze. The Dow opened 461 points higher on Thursday, cutting into losses recorded in the previous session. At the close: both the S&P500 and the Dow firmed up 0.99%, while the Nasdaq saw out the session 0.50% stronger. Unemployment claims for the week ending on 23 January dropped by 67,000 from the week before to reach 847,000. Purchases of new single-family houses increased 1.6% to an 842,000 annualised pace in December, up from a downwardly revised 829,000 in the prior month. Stock futures trade lower after recovery rally on Friday.

Asian equities headed weekly losss, as a Wall Street retail-trading frenzy and a liquidity squeeze in China unnerved investors and weighed on markets. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.5% and is on course for a weekly loss of 3.8. Japan’s Nikkei fell 1.65% and is heading for its first weekly loss of the year. Australia losing 0.65% dragged down by financials and tech stocks. Both mainland China and Hong Kong are down 0.40%.

Oil steady as supply cuts offset demand worries on stalled vaccine rollouts. U.S. WTI crude futures slipped 0.59& to $52.09, while Brent crude futures for March rose 0.3% to $55.37 a barrel.