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Equities edge higher, bonds stable after Chinese stocks rally

Reuters/New York
Filed on August 18, 2020


Oil prices rose on hopes of a rebound in Chinese demand.

Global equities markets edged higher and perceived safe havens such as US Treasuries gained on Monday as investors weighed further financial stimulus in China against tightening economic restrictions in Italy after a resurgence of coronavirus cases among young people.

Chinese blue chips led the way with gains of 2.35 per cent as the country's central bank provided more medium-term loans to the financial system. Beijing also granted a patent for a CanSino Biologics Covid-19 vaccine candidate, Ad5-nCOV.

Coronavirus cases in Italy have doubled over the past two weeks, prompting the country to reimpose restrictions on bars and nightclubs.

Rabobank strategist Bas Van Geffen said the past few months had seen optimism build about a strong economic bounce-back, but the reimposition of restrictions was an indication of challenges.

"We have already cautioned that this is not going to be a V- shaped recovery... and perhaps this is a sort of a sign to the markets that it is not going to be (a quick recovery)," Van Geffen said.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.45 per cent following broad rallies in Asia and slight gains in Europe.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 86.11 points, or 0.31per cent, to 27,844.91, the S&P 500 gained 9.14 points, or 0.27per cent, to 3,381.99 and the Nasdaq Composite added 110.42 points, or 1per cent, to 11,129.73.

The Nasdaq Composite set record highs, while the broader S&P 500 remained just under the record level it posted in February before broad lockdowns froze the economy in place.

US second-quarter earnings season wraps up with major retailers, including Walmart, Home Depot and Kohls, reporting this week.

Sino-American relations remain a sticking point, after U.S. President Donald Trump on Saturday said he could exert pressure on more Chinese companies such as technology major Alibaba after he moved to ban TikTok.

Investors are looking ahead to Wednesday, when the Federal Reserve will release minutes from its latest policy meeting.

"Market participants will be looking for insight into the details and exact timing of when the Fed's Monetary Policy Review will be completed, and also for more clarity with respect to the potential timing and structure of any changes to forward guidance," analysts at NatWest Markets noted.

Speculation is rife that the Fed will adopt an average inflation target, which would seek to push inflation above 2per cent for some time to make up for the years it has run below that level.

That view combined with massive new debt supply to cause a sharp increase in longer-term bond yields last week, with 30-year yields rising 21 basis points as the curve steepened.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 6/32 in price to yield 0.6915per cent, from 0.709per cent late on Friday, while the dollar index fell 0.215per cent, with the euro up 0.24per cent to $1.187. Spot gold added 2.1per cent to $1,984.13 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 2.01per cent to $1,975.90 an ounce.

Oil prices rose on hopes of a rebound in Chinese demand.

Brent crude settled up 57 cents, or 1.3per cent, to $45.87 a barrel, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 88 cents, or 2.1 per cent, to $42.41 a barrel.

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