Asia Stocks to Gain as Dollar Weakens; Pound Rises: Markets Wrap

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Asian stocks were poised to rise after U.S. equities eked out gains and the pound climbed as an outline of the post-Brexit trade deal was reached.

Equity futures were higher in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. Uncertainly surrounding President Donald Trump’s demand for changes to pandemic relief legislation weighed on sentiment in the U.S. session, with the S&P 500 finishing up just 0.1%. The Nasdaq Composite and Russell 2000 indexes set intraday record highs. The gap between 5- and 30-year Treasury yields widened Wednesday to a four-year high.

Some equity markets will shut early Thursday for Christmas holidays and then most will be closed Friday.

European stocks rose as trade and transport links between the U.K. and its neighbors reopened and Brexit negotiators put the finishing touches to an accord, said officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Travel firms and automakers led gains, with Daimler AG rising on a report the German carmaker is considering an initial public offering of its truck unit.

Investors were are looking past the president’s comments to the promise of pandemic relief that will come sooner or later. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi seized on Trump’s call for larger individual checks and said the House would try to pass this additional measure during a pro forma session on Thursday.

“Right now we have a lot of animal spirits surging into year end,” Michael Purves, founder and CEO at Tallbacken Capital Advisors, said on Bloomberg TV. “As constructive as I am on markets in the broader term, I do expect there will be a hangover of sorts to process this over extension some time later this winter.”

Meantime, Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE agreed to double the supply of their Covid-19 vaccine to the U.S. In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed tougher restrictions across a swath of England as authorities try to rein in a strain of coronavirus that’s spreading quickly.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 rose 0.1%.
  • Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 0.6%.
  • Hang Seng futures earlier gained 0.2%.
  • Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.7%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.4%.
  • The yen edged up 0.1% to 103.55 per dollar.
  • The euro bought $1.2191.
  • The pound rose 1% to $1.3493.
  • The offshore yuan gained 0.1% to 6.5325 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose three basis points to 0.94%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2.2% to $48.06 a barrel.
  • Gold climbed 0.6% to $1,872.72 an ounce.

— With assistance by Kamaron Leach

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