Japan’s Nikkei hits 33-year high, while global stocks enjoy gains

Sydney/London — Shares held their gains on Tuesday after a tech-led rally on Wall Street the day before and lower oil prices had boosted global stocks, while US benchmark treasury yields rose.

MSCI’s world share index was flat after jumping 0.9% on Monday, Europe’s Stoxx 600 index dipped 0.14%, drifting off a two-year high hit at the start of January, and US share futures dipped 0.3%.

There was more excitement in Asia where Japan’s Nikkei hit a 33-year high, as chipmakers rose in the slipstream of US giant Nvidia, which posted a record high close on Monday after unveiling new desktop graphics processors taking advantage of artificial intelligence.

London-listed fund manager Jupiter drew eyes at the European open, falling 12%, the biggest decliner on the FTSE350 index of large and mid-cap stocks, after it flagged net outflows of £2.2bn for 2023 and the departure of a star manager.

Shares in Grifols plunged more than 40% on Tuesday after hedge fund Gotham City Research questioned its accounting practices. The Spanish drug company categorically denied the allegations.

The bigger macroeconomic news of the week is not due until Thursday in the form of December’s US consumer price index (CPI) reading, which will influence how soon the US Federal Reserve starts cutting interest rates.

Traders in 2024 have been slightly pushing back expectations of near imminent rate cuts that had built late in 2023. Current market pricing reflects a 58% chance of a rate cut at the Fed’s March meeting, down from more than 80% late in 2023, according to CME’s Fedwatch tool, though some see that as too soon.

“Inflation has not returned to the target just yet and the Fed should not be in too much of a rush to cut. CPI can be quite sticky and stubborn, we expect them to start cutting rates from June,” said Marcella Chow, JPMorgan Asset Management’s global market strategist in Hong Kong.

However, giving some justification to those expecting earlier rate cuts, overnight the New York Fed’s latest Survey of Consumer Expectations showed that US consumers’ projection of inflation over the short run fell to the lowest level in nearly three years in December.

That reassessment of rate cuts expectations has weighed on government bonds at the start of this year. The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield, was last at 4.042% up four basis points on the day, and sharply up from a five-month low of 3.783% hit 27 December.

This year’s jump in the yield is less dramatic in the context of its fall from just over 5% in October 2023.

Germany’s 10-year bund yield, the European benchmark, was similarly up 4 bps at 2.19%, having nudged below 1.9% between Christmas and New Year.

Eyes on oil

Oil managed to find its feet on Tuesday with both Brent crude and US crude futures up about 1.2% at $77.03 a barrel and $71.77 respectively.

They had fallen over 3% and 4% on sharp price cuts by top exporter Saudi Arabia and a rise in Opec output, with European wholesale gas prices also down around their lowest level since last summer.

“Another positive tailwind on the inflation side,” Jim Reid strategist at Deutsche Bank said of the declines in a morning note to clients .

Spot gold was up 0.4% higher at 2036.1 an ounce.

Currency markets were fairly quiet with the dollar not having gained as much as it could have against European peers on the back of this year’s move higher in yields.

The euro was last at $1.0945 broadly steady on the day and down 0.8% year to date.

“We had started the year thinking that a backup in short-term rates could give the dollar a little support — though in fact, dollar gains have been very modest,” said Chris Turner global head of markets at ING in a morning note.

“Behind that may well be the conviction view that the Federal Reserve will cut rates this year and that, unless something has broken somewhere, increasing long dollar positions would now be a counter-trend trade.”


Source: businesslive.co.za