US Treasury Nominee Janet Yellen Calls For Big Spending; Dollar Dips

20/01/2021 Asian stocks climbed to a record high on Wednesday as U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen advocated for a hefty fiscal relief package to help the world’s largest economy ride out a pandemic-driven slump. U.S futures rose, while both gold and crude oil extended gains over weaker dollar. Brent crude futures up 0.64% to $56.26 and the gold spot sitting comfortably at $1849.95, up 0.52%

The JSE lost 0.17% to 63,603.26 points and the Top-40 0.32%. The All-share closed weaker on Tuesday, pulled lower by the resources and gold mining indices due to data showing that mining production contracted by a marked 11.6% in November 2020. The gold mining index fell 3.88% and resources 1.51%. Platinum miners gained 1.71%. Looking forward to a firm and positive opening, Top-40 futures on IG Markets +181 points.

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ECONOMIC DATA (all times Central African Time):
• 10am: Dec. CPI y/y, est. 3.1%, prior 3.2%; m/m est. 0.2%, prior 0%; CPI core y/y, est. 3.2%, prior 3.3%; core m/m est. 0.1%, prior 0%

European shares finished lower on Tuesday despite upbeat earnings reports and flat, or falling, numbers of Covid-19 infections throughout Western Europe, outside of Spain. The pan-European Stoxx 600 dipped 0.19%, while the UK’s FTSE 100 slipped 0.11%, and Germany’s DAX was down 0.24%. It was also confirmed during the day that Germany’s lockdown would be extended until 14 February.
The S&P 500 rose for the first time in three days as Janet Yellen implored lawmakers to quickly approve another round of Covid-19 aid. Wall Street three main indices closed positively firm: Dow up 0.38%, S&P 500 up 0.81% and the Nasdaq 1.53% – Netflix surges on customer growth. U.S futures rise ahead of Biden’s Inauguration Day. The ceremony will take place at the West Front of the Capitol around noon in a scaled-down socially-distant event.

MSCI’s Asia-Pacific index outside Japan rose 0.95%, reaching its highest level ever. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 1.0% to approach its 2019 peak while Australian shares added 0.41%. Japan’s Nikkei, however, slipped 0.45% on profit-taking. China’s markets, Shanghai, are 0.51% firmer on Wednesday. Alibaba’s Jack Ma makes first public appearance since October last year – as his tech empire continues to grapple with challenges from Chinese regulators.