Asian Shares Mixed, Hong Kong Halts Evergrande, U.S. Futures Rise

03/01/2022 Overall trading across global markets still light as many are still shut for holidays. Asian stocks were mixed in thin trading as investors mulled the impact of the omicron variant on the global recovery. Shares of China Evergrande Group were suspended in Hong Kong. Hong Kong was down, while markets in China, Australian, and Japanese were closed for a holiday. There will be no cash trading of U.S. Treasuries in Asia on Monday. China’s Evergrande Group shares were suspended from trading in Hong Kong, the debt-ridden property developer did not provide a reason for the suspension.

Oil prices firmed on Monday as the market kicked off 2022 on a positive note with suppliers in focus ahead of Tuesday’s OPEC+ meeting. Brent crude added 53 cents, or 0.67%, to $78.31 a barrel.

Gold was down on Monday morning, but higher U.S. Treasury yields supported the safe-haven asset amid concerns about rising COVID-19 cases. Gold futures edged down 0.27% to $1,822.23 after hitting a more than one-month high of $1,831.49 during the session.

Locally, On Friday the JSE fell 0.1% to 73,709 points and the top 40 shed 0.11%. On Thursday the All-share reached a record high level of 73,786.45. The telecoms index fell 1.87% while travel and leisure gained 1.4%. For the year 2021:- travel and leisure is up 107%, telecoms 94% and the small cap index 52%. The overall JSE, All-share, gained 24% YTD. Absa’s Purchasing Managers’ Index is due to be published at 11 a.m. The PMI is expected to drop, after rising to 57.2 in November, from 53.6 the month before.

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• South Africa Covid-19 Hospitalizations at 9,353 With 7.8% in ICU
• South Africa 4,379 New Covid-19 Cases Reported With Positivity Rate at 23%
• South Africa Fewer Omicron Patients Admitted With Existing Illnesses
• Best Year for South African Stocks Since 2009 as Richemont Soars

What to watch this week:
• FOMC meeting minutes scheduled for release on Wednesday
• Fed’s Bullard discusses the U.S. economy and monetary policy in an event on Thursday
• Fed’s Daly discusses monetary policy on a panel Friday
• ECB’s Schnabel speaks on a panel Saturday
Shares finished 2021 on a lowkey in continental Europe, closing lower in thin volumes as traders and investors pondered a new year in the shadow of surging Omicron Covid cases. The pan-European STOXX 600 closed 0.13% lower. However, the European benchmark index was set to close the year 22.3% higher. European index futures off the 2022 starting blocks on a positive note:- FTSE100 futures +10 points, DAX futures +40 points in the green, alongside CAC-40 firm +8 points firm
U.S. shares eased on the final trading day of 2021, in what marked a banner year for the stock market. The S&P 500 dipped 0.3% Friday, the Nasdaq 100 lost 0.7% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ticked down 0.2%. Tesla Inc., on Sunday, reported record quarterly deliveries that far exceeded Wall Street estimates, riding out global chip shortages as it ramped up China production. The electric vehicle maker delivered 308,600 vehicles in the fourth quarter, far higher than analysts’ forecasts of 263,026 vehicles. All three main index futures benchmarks are firm this morning : Dow futures +0.36%, S&P500 +0.44%, Nasdaq +0.56%.

Markets in Japan, mainland China, Australia closed for holidays. Asian stock markets were mixed Monday on 2022′s first trading day after Wall Street ended last year with a double-digit gain. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.46%. Singapore’s government announced its economy grew by 7.2% last year, rebounding from the previous year’s 5.4% contraction.