|Delayed - 01/15 05:18:49 pm|
Wall Street Edges Higher Pre-Bell; Futures Green, Europe Pulls Back, Asia Up
|01/12/2021 | 06:45am|
Three regional Federal Reserve Presidents - Richmond's Tom Barkin, Atlanta's Raphael Bostic and Dallas' Robert Kaplan - each suggested on Monday that the central bank might begin tapering its $120 billion monthly quantitative easing, or bond-buying, program later this year. Such a move would be made possible by economic growth spurred by fiscal stimulus from Washington and widespread COVID-19 vaccinations, the policy makers indicated.
European bourses were choppy while Asian stocks closed mostly higher, with Mumbai moving at another all-time record high.
Bitcoin rose 3% to $35,600 following a plunge in recent sessions. West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed 1.6% at $53.12, and 10-year US Treasuries offered 1.13%. Gold rose to trade near $1,861 an ounce.
On the economic calendar was the National Federation of Small Business Optimism Index for December, followed by the 10 am release of the Jobs Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS.
For Federal Reserve-watchers, Atlanta President Bostic speaks at 9:30 am and 11 am, Governor Lael Brainard speaks
at 9:35 am, Cleveland President Loretta Mester speaks at 12 pm, and Kansas City President Esther George speaks at 1 pm.
Albertsons (ACI) reports earnings pre-bell, among others.
In the futures, the S&P 500 was up 0.2%, the Nasdaq picked up 0.3% and the Dow Jones added on 0.2%
In Europe, the UK's FTSE 100 fell 0.7%, the French CAC slipped 0.2% and the German DAX was flat.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei 225 opened modestly lower but staged a small rally to finish up 0.1%, as traders returned to their posts after a three-day weekend. Pharmaceutical issues gained while the yen traded marginally lower against the US dollar, which tends to aid stock prices.
The upside in equities has been capped by record-high new COVID-19 infection rates in Japan. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday said he plans to declare a state of emergency for the Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures, effective Wednesday, in a bid to curtail the spread of the virus. The nation's largest metropolis, Tokyo, already operates under emergency rules.
The Nikkei 225 rose 25.31 to 28,164.34, as gaining issues outnumbered losers 122 to 103.
In economic news, Japan's Economy Watchers index, which measures sentiment among frontline service workers such as taxi drivers and restaurant employees, decreased to 35.5 in December from 45.6 in November. Readings below 50 indicate pessimism. The decline reflected the ongoing spike in coronavirus infections, according to the Cabinet Office.
The Hong Kong Hang Seng Index finished up by 1.3% as investors bought back into telecom shares recently depressed by the Trump administration's order barring US investors from buying into the companies. China Unicom, China Mobile, and China Telecom all rose by more than 6%, as mainland funds acquired shares in the companies, said analysts.
The broad gauge Hang Seng rose 368.53 to 28,276.75, as gaining issued outnumbered losers 29 to 21.
On the mainland, the Shanghai Composite rose 2.2% to 3,608.34.
In economic news, China's economy appears likely to expand by 8.2% in 2021, with strong domestic consumption to be stoked by successful vaccination program, investment bank UBS reportedly said on Tuesday.
On the other exchanges, the S. Korean Kospi fell 0.7%; the Taiwan TWSE declined 0.4%; the Australian ASX 200 declined 0.3%; the Singapore Straits Times Index fell 0.2%, and the Thai Set edged up 0.2%. In late trading in Mumbai, the Sensex was up 0.5%.