August 27, 2018

Global stock markets swim higher in Wall Street’s wake

Stock Market

Global stock markets rallied Monday, taking their cue from last week’s record showing on Wall Street, but trading in Europe was thin with London closed for a public holiday.

Share prices in Frankfurt were up by nearly half a percent after a widely watched survey showed business confidence in the German economy bouncing back as US trade war fears ease.

French stock prices were also up by around 0.4 percent, buoyed by the widespread gains in Asia.

The bank holiday in London was “keeping trading in Europe pretty thin,” said London Capital Group analyst, Jasper Lawler.

“Traders have had the weekend to digest all the central banker commentary from Jackson Hole.”

At the annual central bankers’ symposium in Wyoming, US Federal Reserve chief Jerome Powell suggested that, with the US economy showing no sign of overheating, there would be no acceleration in the timetable in interest rates rises.

“Equity market reaction… was one of either appreciation or disinterest,” Lawler said.

In New York on Friday, the S&P500 and Nasdaq had both reached all-time highs while the Dow gained over 100 points.

– Trump’s political turmoil –
Lawler said that the political turmoil engulfing Trump and his advisers “seems to have done little to dampen market spirits.”

But FXTM market strategist, Hussein Sayed, suggested that as speculation that the US president might be impeached grows, “investors who believe that Trump policies were the key attributes to the recent stocks rally may start becoming worried. After all, he’s the one who sets the path for fiscal policies.”

Nevertheless, looking at previous scandals, such as Watergate and the impeachment of Richard Nixon in 1974, “investors don’t really care who the president is,” Sayed said.

“It’s economic growth, fiscal policies, monetary policies, and earnings growth that matter. The current political turmoil won’t affect economic expansion or employment. US corporates continue to benefit from tax cuts and got the wanted deregulation,” the expert said.

In Germany, the widely-watched Ifo barometer of business confidence rose to its highest level since February as concerns about a trade war between the US and the EU were put on the back burner.

“Today’s Ifo index strongly suggests that the growth party will continue,” said ING economist Carsten Brzeski.

In Asia, Tokyo ended 0.9 percent higher, Hong Kong jumped more than two percent, Shanghai added 1.9 percent and Singapore put on 0.7 percent. Seoul gained 0.3 percent and Sydney added 0.4 percent while there were also gains in Wellington, Taipei and Jakarta.

In forex trading, the dollar was mixed, but OANDA trader Stephen Innes said that the euro could begin to face headwinds as a result of tensions between Italy’s populist government and the EU over Rome’s refusal to take refugees rescued from the Mediterranean.

– Key figures around 1015 GMT –
London – FTSE 100: Closed for holiday

Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.4 percent at 12,445.88 points

Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.4 percent at 5,451.73

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.9 percent at 22,799.64 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 2.2 percent at 28,271.27 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: UP 1.9 percent at 2,780.90 (close)

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1617 from $1.1623 at 2040 GMT Friday

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2844 from $1.2847

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 111.10 yen from 111.21 yen

New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.5 percent at 25,790.35 (close)

Oil – West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 27 cents at $68.45 per barrel

Oil – Brent Crude: DOWN 26 cents at $75.56 per barrel