Vaccination Fuels Rally in World Stocks

Wall Street futures rise as traders shrug off higher US inflation
Vaccination Fuels Rally in World Stocks
Vaccination Fuels Rally in World Stocks

London and Paris opened higher while Shanghai, Hong Kong and Seoul rose. Tokyo was off less than 0.5 per cent.

On Tuesday, Wall Street's benchmark S&P 500 index climbed by 0.3 per cent to a new high, propelled by tech and consumer stocks on optimism that the vaccine rollout will allow business activity to return to normal. Johnson & Johnson fell by 1.3 per cent after US regulators suspended the use of its single-dose vaccine to investigate possibly dangerous blood clots.

The US government reported that consumer prices increased by a stronger-than-expected 0.6 per cent in March, the fastest rate since 2012. Higher inflation normally fuels fears that interest rates might be raised to keep prices stable, but the Federal Reserve has said the economy will be allowed to “run hot” to ensure recovery is in place.

Traders “took the well-telegraphed inflation pick-up' in stride”, Stephen Innes of Axi said in a report. Markets also are “seemingly unfazed” by the J&J suspension.

In early trading, London's FTSE 100 was up less than 0.1percent at 6,896.64. Frankfurt's DAX declined less than 0.1percent to 15,222.10 while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.2 per cent to 6,196.15.

On Wall Street, the future for the S&P 500 index was up less than 0.1 per cent while that for the Dow Jones Industrial Average was unchanged.

The Dow, which includes J&J, fell 0.2 per cent on Tuesday. The Nasdaq, with more technology stocks, gained 1.1 per cent.

In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.6 per cent to 3,416.72 and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong added 1.3 per cent to 28,855.83.

The Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.4 per cent to 29,620.99 after government data showed February machinery orders fell by an unexpectedly wide margin of 8.5 per cent from the previous month, adding to concern about the country's recovery.

The Kospi in Seoul was up 0.4 per cent at 3,182.38 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 gained 0.7 per cent to 7,023.10.

Indian markets were closed for a holiday. New Zealand and Jakarta advanced.

Singapore declined after the government reported unexpectedly strong first-quarter economic growth of 0.2 per cent over a year ago. The central bank left monetary policy unchanged.

Investors have been encouraged by the rollout of coronavirus vaccines despite renewed disease outbreaks that have prompted some governments to tighten or reimpose business and trade curbs.

But worries about the potential loss of a vaccine option pulled lower companies that are counting on pandemic restrictions easing. American Airlines slipped 1.5percent and Delta Air Lines fell 1.1percent.

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury fell to 1.62percent from Monday's 1.67 per cent.

In energy markets, benchmark US crude rose 76 cents to $60.94 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract advanced 48 cents on Tuesday to close at $60.18. Brent crude, the international price standard, gained 79 cents to $64.46 per barrel in London. It added 39 cents the previous session to $63.67 a barrel.

 The dollar declined to 109.00 yen from Tuesday's 109.09 yen. The euro rose to $1.1965 from the previous session's $1.1946.

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