Stocks steady near record highs; crude oil slips: markets wrap

Stocks traded with little fanfare Friday as holidays across Asia curbed trading, and US and European equity futures were little changed. Crude oil extended an overnight retreat.

Japanese shares ticked higher and Australian stocks slipped amid a snap lockdown for Victoria state. S&P 500 futures dipped after the benchmark on Thursday eked out a gain to close at an all-time high. Strength in tech shares ensured the Nasdaq 100 outperformed. Applications for US state unemployment benefits fell slightly last week in a sign that the labor market is still gradually improving. The dollar firmed against most G-10 peers and Treasuries edged up.

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Crude oil pared its weekly advance following the International Energy Agency’s bleaker outlook for global demand. Walt Disney Co. climbed post market after strong growth in its streaming services. Bitcoin climbed to a record.

After a sharp run-up in global equities to a record high this year and signs central banks will keep supportive monetary policy in place, a debate is rumbling over whether more stimulus along with the vaccine distribution will cause inflation to overheat.

“My big concern is that we get the mother of all melt ups and we get to those levels earlier and that generates a material risk of a melt down in the autumn,” James Bevan, chief investment officer at CCLA Investment Management Ltd. said on Bloomberg TV.

On the virus front, the Australian state of Victoria will shutdown for five days due to concerns around the spread of a Covid-19 variant. President Joe Biden announced the US has finished deals for 100 million additional vaccine doses each from Pfizer Inc. and Moderna Inc.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures slipped 0.2% as of 7:02 a.m. in London. The gauge rose 0.2% on Thursday.
  • Japan’s Topix index rose 0.2%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.6%.
  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures were little changed.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1%.
  • The yen fell 0.1% to 104.82 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan traded little changed at 6.4308 per dollar.
  • The euro bought $1.2126, little changed.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell one basis point to 1.15%.
  • Australia’s 10-year yield rose three basis points to 1.22%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.9% to $57.71 a barrel.
  • Gold was at $1,820 an ounce, down 0.3%.
© 2021 Bloomberg

Source: moneyweb.co.za