Global markets steady in early Asia trade | Ralph-Lauren

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Global share markets have held steady or slipped a bit as investors looked over mixed data and watched for the next catalyst.

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 Index was last down 0.15 per cent on Friday morning and futures for the United States’ S&P 500 were off 0.1 per cent.

Markets in greater China and most of Southeast Asia are closed on Friday for the Lunar New Year holiday. China’s stock and bond markets, foreign exchange and commodity futures markets are closed through February 17 for the holiday.

Trading in the United States and Europe on Thursday did not move prices enough to provide much direction, said Tom Piotrowski, a market analyst at CommSec in Sydney.

“We didn’t get much of a lead-in from the northern hemisphere,” Piotrowski said. “Markets are in a bit of a holding pattern waiting for the next catalyst and it is just a question of whether that catalyst is going to be a positive one or a negative one.”

World stock markets were holding close to record highs on Thursday as investors weighed some tepid economic data against increasing vaccinations against COVID-19 and the prospect that more government spending and continued cheap money from central banks will drive higher growth and, eventually, inflation.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, rose 0.25 per cent on Thursday, adding a ninth straight day of gains.

On Wall Street, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 eked out gains of 0.4 per cent and 0.2 per cent, respectively, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.02 per cent.

Prices held near records as investors bet on more government spending, although enthusiasm was tempered when US President Joe Biden argued for more infrastructure spending by saying in part that China was poised to “eat our lunch”.

The yield on 10-year US Treasuries was last at 1.1648, 3 basis points higher than the day before and the biggest one-day change this week.

The weaker bidding for Treasuries came on soft demand for $US27 billion of new 30-year bonds on Thursday. Earlier in the week, strong demand for new sales of 10-year and three-year notes tempered yields.

The dollar index drifted 0.02 per cent lower on Friday morning after dipping for a fourth day on Thursday on the weak US jobless claims data.

US crude was unchanged early Friday at $US57.92 per barrel. Oil ended a record streak of gains on Thursday after OPEC and the International Energy Agency said renewed lockdowns and the emergence of new coronavirus variants reduced the prospect of a swift recovery in demand.

Cryptocurrency bitcoin was up 6.9 per cent on the day at $US47,937.82 at 1010 AEDT after setting a record high of $US48,481.45 on Thursday.

Spot gold was last up 0.05 per cent to $US1,826.30 per ounce. US gold futures settled down 0.9 per cent on Thursday.


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