NEW YORK: Equity markets climbed on Thursday as more businesses returned to work and as a €750-billion stimulus plan in Europe lifted regional stock indices and the euro, but gold rebounded on deteriorating US-China relations.
Oil prices were flat to slightly lower as the market awaited confirmation of industry data that on Wednesday showed a surprise increase in US crude stocks, which offset hopes for a demand recovery as coronavirus-linked lockdowns ease.
Gold jumped 1% on safe-haven demand as a US-Sino rift deepened over further moves by Beijing to impose a national security law on Hong Kong. But equity and bond markets largely ignored the standoff.
China’s parliament approved the national security legislation for Hong Kong that democracy activists say could erode the territory’s freedom and jeopardise its role as a global financial hub.
Investors have largely turned a blind eye to renewed US-China tensions and instead are focused on the reopening of business activity, said Candice Bangsund, a global asset allocation portfolio manager at Fiera Capital in Montreal.
“Stocks have maintained that positive momentum largely reflecting optimism that growth will recover as Covid lockdowns are eased and economies progressively reopen,” Bangsund said.
“Enhanced government stimulus announcements this week out of Europe and Japan have emboldened that risk-on trade,” she said.
In Europe, the pan-regional Stoxx 600 index rose 1.42% to a fresh 11-week high on the European Union’s plan to prop up the bloc’s coronavirus-hit economies with the €750-billion ($828-billion) recovery fund.
The euro rose 0.4% to $1.1047, a two-month high. The dollar index fell 0.248%. Stocks on Wall Street rose, though less than Europe.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 29th, 2020.
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