S&P500 Advanced To All-Time High; ECB Speeds Up Bond-Buying.

12/03/2021 Asian stock markets pared gains on Friday after the S&P 500 Index swept to an all-time high on the passage of the $1.9 trillion U.S. stimulus package. U.S futures firm after broad gains. Key bond sales went smoothly in U.S. hours, easing concerns about another possible spike in yields. Chinese weathered a renewed focus on U.S.-China relations, after Biden’s administration informed some suppliers to Huawei Technologies Co. of tighter conditions on previously approved export licenses. The Nasdaq rebounded from losses that had pulled it below its February record.

The JSE closed at a record high, cheering the passing of the US Covid-19 relief bill, which boosted appetite for riskier assets. The JSE gained 0.38% to close at a record 68,775 points, while the Top-40 inched up 0.48%. The gold mining index rose 1.47%; Gold Fields led the gains in its sector by rising 2.29% to R143.64, AngloGold added 1.65% to R342.34. Industrials firmed up 0.93%. MTN surged a whopping 12.24% to R83.47 at the close, after releasing earning results on Wednesday. Top-40, IG markets, up 171points; Tencent 0.78% firmer.

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European stock markets closed firmer as investors digested the latest policy announcement from the ECB, while ex-dividend stocks kept a lid on the gains. The FTSE100 ended the session up 0.17%, the pan-European Stoxx 600 index was up 0.49%, alongside a 0.20% gain for the German Dax. The ECB said in its policy announcement it would continue its pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP) to the tune of €1.85trn until at least March 2022. IG Group rallied 4.87% as the online trading platform said third-quarter revenues surged 65% thanks to “exceptional” levels of trading activity throughout the quarter. HSBC shares fell 4.73% and Evraz lost 0.96%, as their stocks traded without entitlement to the dividend.

Wall Street stocks finished in positive territory on Thursday, making for another all-time high for the Dow following its stellar performance in the previous session. The Dow closed up 0.58%, the S&P 500 added 1.04% and the Nasdaq was 2.52% firmer. U.S initial unemployment claims fell by 42,000 to reach 712,000, while the four-week moving average also retreated, falling 34,000 to 759,000.

MSCI’s broadest gauge index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.61% on Friday morning, supported by tech gains. Japan’s Nikkei led gains in Asia with 1.48% rise, China’s blue-chip CSI300 index up 0.25%, Austrlia ASX200 gaining 0.85%, while Hang Seng on the backfoot 0.23%.

Brent crude prices eased on Friday but hovered near $70 a barrel as production cuts by major oil producers constrained supply. Brent crude futures for May slipped r 0.16% to $69.56 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for April was at $65.89 a barrel, down 0.39%.