Close Out Thursday, Asian markets linger at record highs as US closes in on Covid relief deal

17/12/2020 The JSE will play catch up today after yesterdays locked up holiday as world stocks rose to record highs on yesterday as drugmakers rolled out Covid-19 vaccines and US congressional leaders expressed optimism about a stimulus deal, with the upbeat mood dragging the safe-haven dollar to two-and-a-half-year lows. In Europe, markets were cheered by the possibility of a Brexit trade deal, better-than-expected eurozone PMI economic data and a European Central Bank decision to let eurozone banks start paying dividends again if they have enough capital.

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European stocks are expected to open in positive territory on Thursday as traders react positively to comments from the U.S. Federal Reserve that it will continue to support the economy.

U.S. futures are as traders keep an eye on Washington, looking for clues about the prospects of additional fiscal aid, investors will brace for the release of weekly jobless claims data and the latest numbers on U.S. housing starts. These data releases will follow a disappointing retail sales report that kept investor sentiment in check on Wednesday. The Commerce Department said retail sales fell 1.1% in November. Economists polled by Dow Jones expected a drop of 0.3%.

Markets Asia-Pacific are mostly higher as investors reacted to the latest announcements from the U.S. Federal Reserve. Mainland Chinese stocks edged higher, with the Shanghai composite up 0.63% and the Shenzhen component advancing 0.729%. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong rose fractionally. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 gained 0.14% while the Topix index traded 0.27% higher. South Korea’s Kospi, however, declined 0.57%. Shares in Australia jumped, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 1.07%. Australia’s unemployment rate in November was at 6.8%, according to seasonally adjusted estimates released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on Thursday. That compared against October’s 7% unemployment rate. Tencent + 1.40%
Gold held firm near a one-week high as progress on a US fiscal stimulus deal weighed on the dollar, while a pledge by the Federal Reserve to keep rates low until an economic recovery is secure lent further support. Gold is at $ 1870 up another $ 5.25, Silver fell 0.4% to $25.25 an ounce. Platinum rose 0.3% to $1,036.94 and palladium gained 0.1% to $2,329.30.

Oil prices hit a nine-month high after U.S. government data showed that crude stockpiles fell last week and on optimism over a coronavirus relief package in the United States. Brent + 1.04% $ 51.61, WTI + 1.11% $ 48.35