Caution Sets in for Stock Market; Treasuries Climb: Markets Wrap

Asian equities kicked off Friday in a cautious fashion as investors assessed valuations following the rapid rise in global stocks this month and the enduring pandemic in parts of Europe and the U.S. Oil retreated amid rising tensions with OPEC+ members.

Australian and South Korean shares opened with declines, while Japan edged up, while the MSCI Asia Pacific Index remained on course for a 12% November surge. S&P 500 contracts dipped and Treasuries advanced. Earlier, the spreading pandemic tempered gains in European stocks, while U.S. markets were closed. Bitcoin steadied after sliding almost 10% on Thursday.

Even with three potentially successful vaccines on the table, sentiment remains fragile as thevirus toll continues to rise in Europe and the U.S., leading German Chancellor Angela Merkel to call on Europe’s ski resorts to close this winter.AstraZeneca Plc is likely toconduct a further global trial of its vaccine after current studiesraised questions, CEO Pascal Soriot said in an interview. The task of vaccinating the world’s population is rife with logistical problems, all while the virus gains ground and economic recoveries wobble.

“Vaccine optimism continues to stir momentum going into December that could confront a slowing economy and liquidity difficulties,” said Ben Emons, managing director for global macro strategy at Medley Global Advisors. “Yet, the expectation of a full reopening of the global economy remains firmly priced.”

Political clarity has also driven risk assets this month, as President-elect Joe Biden continues his transition to power.

President Donald Trump gave defiant Thanksgiving remarks at the White House Thursday, insisting falsely that he beat Biden and wavering on whether he would ever concede or attend Biden’s inauguration. He said if the electoral college confirms Biden’s victory, “they’ve made a mistake,” but that he would give up power and leave the White House.

Global stocks remain on track for the best month on record, up 13%, and that’s lifted valuations to near the highest in about 20 years.

Here are some key events coming up:

  • U.S. stock market closes at 1 p.m. on Friday.
  • The week ends with Black Friday, the traditional start of the U.S. holiday shopping season.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures dipped 0.2% as of 9:03 a.m. in Tokyo.
  • Japan’s Topix index rose 0.2%.
  • South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.2%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.1%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat.
  • The euro was little changed at $1.1913.
  • The offshore yuan held at 6.5673 per dollar.
  • The yen was at 104.23 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell three basis points to 0.85%.
  • Australia’s 10-year yield dipped to 0.90%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude decreased 1.6% to $44.95 a barrel.
  • Gold dipped 0.3% to $1,810.44 an ounce.

— With assistance by Shoko Oda

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