Global stocks inch to record high; dollar weakens

February 9, 2021

LONDON (Feb 9) - Global stocks rose for the seventh straight day to a record high on Tuesday, while bitcoin briefly hit a fresh peak of $48,000, extending gains after an endorsement from Tesla Inc.

Robust corporate earnings, monetary and fiscal support from policymakers and the prospect pandemic vaccines could hasten a return to normality in the United States and other countries have bolstered risk sentiment.

The MSCI All-Country World Index held broadly steady throughout the European morning, up 0.1% at a fresh record high, mirroring gains on U.S. indexes in the previous session and strength in Asia ovenight.

Futures for the S&P 500 were calling a marginally lower open, down 0.1%, although Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, said he remained positive on the outlook.

“With corporate earnings strong and the policy backdrop supportive, we believe the U.S. bull market is on a solid footing,” he said.

In bond markets, euro zone core bond yields were flat, edging off the previous session’s highs. Italy’s borrowing costs were near recent lows as Mario Draghi sought support to form a new government.

Germany’s 10-year bond yield was half a basis point lower on the day at -0.449%, after hitting five-month highs on Monday at -0.412%.

Following earlier 13-month highs on rising optimism about a return in fuel demand, Brent crude dropped back to trade flat on the day, but still above $60 a barrel.

“There is a sense that the glut of oil supply is disappearing more rapidly than anybody thought possible,” said Phil Flynn, senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “There seems to be a paradigm shift in the market.”

But concern remained over the pace of vaccination, its efficacy against new variants of the novel coronavirus and the damage being done to economies, including the impact on the dollar of a planned $1.9 trillion stimulus package.

That suite of negativity weighed on the dollar. Against a basket of other currencies, it extended earlier falls to trade down 0.4% - bolstering gold, a traditional safe haven against rising inflation, which rose 0.5%.

The euro extended early gains to rise 0.4% to $1.21025, from a two-month low of $1.9520 touched Friday. The pound was up around 0.3% at $1.3776.

In more volatile cryptocurrency markets, bitcoin pushed on from the prior day’s 20% rally to hit a high of $48,216.09, before slipping to around $46,500.

The gains follow a surprise announcement from Tesla Inc on Monday that it had invested around $1.5 billion in the virtual currency and expects to accept it as payment for its cars in the future.


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