5.4.2021- U.S. Stock Futures Gain; Pound at Two-Week High: Markets Wrap


U.S. Stock Futures Gain; Pound at Two-Week High: Markets Wrap

  • Emily Barrett and Alex Nicholson
·3 min read

U.S. futures edged higher while most Asian stocks climbed as investors digested Friday’s unexpectedly strong jobs report. Bonds steadied from earlier losses.

S&P 500 futures rose 0.1%, adding to Friday’s gains when payrolls data showed U.S. employers added the most jobs in seven months. Treasuries pulled back from a selloff last week, with the benchmark 10-year yield steadying around 1.71%. The pound appreciated to a two-week high against the dollar as Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed ahead with plans to reopen the economy.

A benchmark of Asian stocks advanced, with increases in Japan and South Korea. Shares in India slumped the most in five weeks with more than 100,000 new Covid-19 cases recorded in 24 hours. Many markets were closed for holidays, including China and Hong Kong, as well as much of Europe.

Oil fell after OPEC+ leaders decided to boost production and as the spike in Indian Covid-19 infections underscored risks to energy demand.

Investors are following the debate over U.S. President Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal, as Republicans expressed guarded support for a more limited plan. The response so far in bond markets has been muted, with inflation concerns easing amid doubts over the viability more-generous spending, even as central banks remain committed to keeping interest rates lower for longer.

“The repricing of inflation risk and U.S. rates, which will impact discount rates of future earnings and the way stocks are being valued, is a source of uncertainty,” said Johanna Chua, Asia Pacific chief economist for Citigroup Global Markets. “The other uncertainty is the pace of the vaccinations and the virus.”

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On the vaccine front, news was more encouraging. China is ramping up its vaccination push, aiming to be twice as fast as the U.S. Meanwhile, a leader of the World Health Organization’s program said the rollout of shots will be expanded to 100 countries in the next couple of weeks, from 84 at present.