Yen Slips; Asia Stocks Set to Track U.S. Gains: Markets Wrap

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The yen slipped at the start of the trading week, while Asian stocks were poised to gain after a national U.S. lockdown was ruled out and after Wall Street climbed to record levels Friday.

Advisers to President-elect Joe Bidensaid they oppose a nationwide U.S. lockdown despite the pandemic accelerating, favoring targeted local measures instead. Asia Pacific nations including China, Japan and South Korea on Sundaysigned the world’s largest regional free-trade agreement.

On Friday, both the S&P 500 and the Russell 2000 Index of small caps rallied to all-time highs, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose to pre-pandemic levels. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 underperformed major gauges amid the rotation to economically sensitive industries. Ten-year Treasury yields ended last week at 0.9%. The pound dipped asbarriers remain to reaching a trade deal in Brexit talks.

Global stocks have recovered to their pre-pandemic highs after optimism about a vaccine last week drove a rotation into value and cyclical sectors, whereas more defensive industries underperformed. Still, concerns about a sustainable economic recovery persist amid a flare-up incases around the world.

U.S. coronavirus cases hit a record Friday and neared 11 million infections after new cases exceeded 100,000 for 10 straight days. Germany must live with “considerable restrictions” against the spread of Covid-19 for at least the next four to five months, the country’s economy minister said.

The Asia Pacific trade agreement encompasses a third of the world’s population and gross domestic product. It includes Australia, New Zealand and the 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations inked the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP.

These are some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 gained 1.4% Friday.
  • Nikkei 225 futures rose 1.1% earlier.
  • Futures on the S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.8% earlier.
  • Hang Seng Index future gained 0.4% earlier.

Currencies

  • The yen dipped 0.1% to 104.69 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan was at 6.6019 per dollar.
  • The euro advanced 0.1% to $1.1841.
  • The pound fell 0.1% to $1.3171.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced one basis point to 0.90%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 2.4% to $40.13 a barrel Friday.
  • Gold rose 0.7% to $1,889.20 an ounce.

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