Global shares cruise to three-month highs, dollar under protest pressure

LONDON (Reuters) – World stocks climbed to three-month highs on Tuesday as the global coronavirus recovery effort won out over U.S.-China tensions and the worst civil unrest in the United States in decades.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s vow to use force to end violent protests and reports that China had ordered U.S. soybean purchases to be halted had caused a brief wobble in Wall Street futures, but Europe got shares back on track. [.N][.EU]

The STOXX 600 jumped over 2% and Germany’s DAX surged nearly 4% after a holiday on Monday as Lufthansa’s board approved its government bailout and carmakers shone. Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), Daimler and BMW shares all leapt over 6% on talk of a 5 billion- euro government-funded car buying scheme.[.EU]

The euro hit a two-and-a-half-month high too as the dollar struggled with its home-grown strains [/FRX], and Italian and Spanish bonds were still being helped by a proposed 750 billion-euro EU stimulus plan and European Central Bank buying. [GVD/EUR]

“In a way, it is remarkable that the market remains in this positive mood,” said Elwin de Groot, head of macro strategy at Rabobank. “Even with these rising protests in the U.S. and the situation in Hong Kong at the moment, the market is pushing on and seeing room for optimism.”

Demonstrators, angered over the recent death of 46-year old African American George Floyd in police custody, had set fire to a mall in Los Angeles overnight, looted stores in New York and at least five U.S. police had been hit by gunfire.

Wall Street futures had dipped in Asia but Europe dragged them back up in its slipstream ahead of U.S. trading. [.N]

World stock markets have rallied nearly 36% from March lows on hopes for a swift recovery from the coronavirus-induced collapse in world growth. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is now only 3% from its pre-virus record highs. [.N]

May Purchasing Managers Index data pointed to a fragile but encouraging recovery in global manufacturing, raising hopes that the worst is over.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.2% to its highest since late February and markets in Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong and China [.SS] also gained as the central bank there also provided another shot of stimulus.

“This optimistic read for risk can only persist if measures like orders and employment continue to improve month to month,” said Alan Ruskin, chief international strategist at Deutsche Bank.

“Early setbacks would be a very poor sign, but are not expected in the period immediately following the end of lockdowns.”


The dollar was at multi-month lows against most major currencies following a 5% drop for its main index since March. [FRX/]

The euro got as high as $1.1160, Britain’s pound topped $1.2530 for the first time in over a month and the Canadian and Australian dollars both rose around 0.4% as commodity markets continued their recoveries.

“The protests are part of the reason for the sell-off in the dollar over the last four or five days,” said CMC Markets senior analyst Michael Hewson.

“When there are riots on the streets and the president is saying the military will be called in, it adds some near-term uncertainty.”

Brent oil rose another 2% to just over $39 a barrel. Traders are expecting major producers to extend output cuts at an OPEC+ meeting later in the week. U.S. crude was up 1% at $35.86 a barrel. [O/R]

Copper prices were at their highest in nearly three months on signs that demand from top metals consumer China was recovering.

Stockpiles dropped at the fastest pace last week since September 2017, data showed. Aluminium producer Rusal said its customers were gradually returning after a major slump in April.

“This is real demand. Domestic investment is booming,especially in infrastructure. Supply and transport slowdowns from South America are also supporting prices,” said a copper trader in China.

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