LONDON: US stocks opened higher yesterday following a strong showing in Europe, lifted by in-demand tech shares and further positive news from Moderna on its coronavirus vaccine’s effectiveness in teenagers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.2 percent at the open, outpaced by the tech-heavy Nasdaq and the wider S&P 500. Tech firms are “buoyed by the recent reprieve in the spike in interest rates… as ramped-up inflation worries seem to be cooling a bit,” Charles Schwab analysts commented.
“Moreover, with vaccine rollouts charging on in the US and Europe, optimism of economic recovery appears to be supplying some bullish sustenance,” they added. Schwab pointed to Moderna’s announcement earlier Tuesday that its mRNA shot against COVID-19 was “highly effective” at preventing the disease in teenagers, and that it would apply for authorization for the age group from US and global regulators “in early June”.
In foreign exchange markets, the euro single currency hit a five-month dollar high. Bitcoin gave up some of its gains after another wild day, after a rally following a supportive tweet from tycoon Elon Musk that offset fresh Chinese warnings of a crackdown on cryptocurrencies. Meanwhile oil prices gained slightly, as talks between Iran, the US and other world powers aimed at reviving their 2015 nuclear agreement remained mired in differences.
Fading inflation fears
Investors had already been buoyed Monday after Federal Reserve officials insisted that an expected spike in prices over the next few months — caused by issues including supply bottlenecks and consumers splurging cash — would be temporary. The gains helped chip away at recent losses in the tech sector, which has taken the brunt of selling on concerns that surging inflation will force central banks to hike interest rates sooner than expected. Tech giants are more susceptible to higher rates owing to the potential effect on their future earnings and cash flow.
In Europe, Germany’s DAX index touched a new all-time high of 15,568.60 points in the morning before easing back in the afternoon, while Paris added 0.1 percent and London flatlined. Investors in Europe’s top economy had been encouraged by “a combination of M&A (merger and acquisition) activity, upbeat business sentiment data and easing US inflation fears,” said analyst Sophie Griffiths at trading firm OANDA.
Investors seized on an announcement from Germany’s top property group Vonovia of a 19-billion-euro merger with rival Deutsche Wohnen to form a sector giant. Sentiment was also boosted by surging German business confidence. The Ifo institute’s monthly barometer based on a survey of 9,000 companies climbed to 99.2 points in May, 2.6 points up from April and its highest value in two years.
Easing inflation concerns also pushed stocks higher, with Asia tracking a healthy rally on Wall Street, as traders eyed the upbeat global economic outlook. In New York on Monday, investors took heart from a number of Federal Reserve officials who insisted that an expected spike in prices over the next few months-caused by issues including supply bottlenecks and just-freed consumers splurging cash-would be temporary.
The gains helped chip away at recent losses in the tech sector, which has taken the brunt of selling on concerns that surging inflation will force central banks to hike interest rates sooner than expected. Tech giants are more susceptible to higher rates owing to the potential effect on their future earnings and cash flow.
Musk lifts Bitcoin
Bitcoin held around $39,000 — having almost fallen through $30,000 recently for the first time since January-after Musk tweeted support for a group attempting to make the mining of the currency less environmentally damaging. The cryptocurrency had early Monday suffered steep losses after China reiterated its call to curtail mining and trading.That came days after Beijing said the units would not be allowed in transactions and warned investors against speculative trading in them. – AFP