03/03/2021 Asian stocks and U.S. equity futures are higher this morning amid easing concerns that markets are too stretched and as the focus turned back to the stimulus-fuelled recovery from the pandemic. Elsewhere, oil rebounded after a three-day fall with the OPEC+ alliance said to be poised to agree an output increase at its meeting this week. Locally the JSE closed at another record high, with the AllShare above 68000 for the first time, closing at 68510 up 1.44%, the Top40 was up 1.61% led by a rebound in the Platinum miners. We should see a firmer start to the local market this morning with Asia up, US and European Futures up and Tencent up 1.58%. IG Markets Top 40 are up 518 points.
South African civil servants demanded a pay rise that’s more than double the inflation rate, a week after the finance minister insisted the government can’t afford increases of any kind. The move highlights the government’s challenge in making trade-offs between competing interests as it tries to stimulate economic growth.
• South Africa’s Vaccine Rollout Program to Get $33 Million Boost.
• Ramaphosa Halts Hunt for Reserve South African Finance Chief.
• South African Stocks Hit New Record as Major Miners Regain Poise.
• Citi Sees Capitec Winning More Mid-Market South African Bank Users.
• South Africa Can Vaccinate 10% of Population by July, BD Says.
• Ace going nowhere, new ANC step-aside guidelines reveal.
• ARI 1H HEPS R 25.87, Divi R 10, 1H Rev up 66% Y/Y.
9:15am: Feb. Standard Bank PMI, est. 51.0, prior 50.8
European stocks closed higher yesterday, building on the previous session’s rally as concern over rising U.S. bond yields stabilized. The pan-European Stoxx 600 ended the session up by about 0.2%, with insurance stocks adding 1.6% while oil and gas slipped 0.3% on the back of weakening commodity prices. Most sectors and major bourses finished in positive territory.
Overnight the major U.S averages gave back some their sharp gains from Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 143 points, pressured by a 2.6% drop in Intel. The S&P 500 registered a loss of about 0.8%. The Nasdaq Composite was the relative underperformer, dipping about 1.7% as Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet closed lower. The small-cap benchmark Russell 2000 dropped 1.93%. Futures are higher this morning, the Dow up 105 points, S&P up 14 points and the Nasdaq up 80 points. Private payroll data for February is due at 15:15 today SA time. This will give investors a read into the labor market. Economists polled by Dow Jones expect 225,000 private jobs were added in February, higher than the 174,000 added in January.
Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mostly higher today, as a private survey showed slowing services sector activity in China last month. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led gains among the region’s major markets, jumping 1.69% by the afternoon, 700HK up 1.58%. Australia’s GDP rose 3.1% in seasonally adjusted chain volumes terms in the December quarter, according to figures released by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That figure beat expectations for a 2.5% rise by economists in a Reuters poll and followed a 3.4% growth in the third quarter. The ASX 200 is up 0.82%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.92%. The Nikkei is up 0.42%.
Oil is a tad better this morning after been down as much as 6 % from February the 25th highs. Brent is up 0.37% at $ 62.93 and WTI + 0.20% at 59.88. OPEC+ are set to meet tomorrow, sources last week said an output increase of 500,000 barrels per day (bpd) looked possible without building inventories. Saudi Arabia’s voluntary cut of 1 million bpd is due to end in April, but it is unclear whether it will restore all of that supply right away.
Gold is softer after yesterday’s recovery where it rallied off the lowest level since June the 15th of $ 1707, the metal is trading at $ 1732, Silver dipped 0.3% to $26.67 an ounce, while palladium climbed 0.6% at $2,376.50. Platinum shed 0.3% to $1,200.50. Investors now await developments in a $1.9 trillion U.S. stimulus bill passed by the House of Representatives last week, as the Senate begins debate over the legislation this week.