FILE PHOTO: A worker shelters from the rain under a Union Flag umbrella as he passes the London Stock Exchange in London, Britain, October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo
May 3, 2021
By Tommy Wilkes
LONDON (Reuters) – European shares gained on Monday as investors bullish about the global economic recovery looked ahead to a busy week for U.S. economic data that is expected to underline the strength of the rebound.
With China, Japan and Britain closed for public holidays, volumes were thin.
The Euro STOXX index rose 0.71%, while the German DAX gained 0.61% and France’s CAC 40 0.5%.
Wall Street futures were higher, pointing to yet more gains after stock markets notched up another round of record highs last week.
The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, was flat on the day and below record highs, however, as losses in Asia offset the gains in Europe.
Underpinning investors’ enthusiasm for riskier assets is the sense that the global economy is about to boom as countries come out of lockdowns and consumers and businesses unleash some of their excess savings built up over the past year.
Investor optimism has been enhanced by a run of forecast-beating corporate earnings during the past few weeks.
German retail sales data for March came in far better than expected, underlining that a U.S.-led economic rebound is now gaining traction elsewhere.
Recent business surveys have also pointed to soaring confidence about the recovery, although some economists think businesses may be getting ahead of themselves and influenced more by the success and speed of COVID-19 vaccination rollouts.
“The data has been unrealistically strong in recent months – while the underlying economy is performing very well, manufacturing growth is not quite at the stratospheric levels the surveys imply,” said UBS economist Paul Donovan.
“Newsflow about the vaccination cycle may be more important in dictating answers to sentiment surveys than actual economic activity.”
A busy week for U.S. economic data is expected to show resounding strength, particularly for the ISM manufacturing survey and April payrolls. Forecasts are that 978,000 jobs were created in the month as consumers spent their stimulus money and the economy opened up more.
Analysts at NatWest Markets, for instance, see U.S. payrolls surging by 1.25 million in April with unemployment diving to 5.2%, from 6% in March.
GERMAN YIELDS RISE
Such gains could stir speculation of a tapering in asset purchases by the Federal Reserve, though Chair Jerome Powell has shown every sign of staying patient on policy.
Powell is due to speak later on Monday and will be followed by a raft of Fed officials this week. Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan caused a stir on Friday by calling for beginning the conversation about tapering.
The 10-year Treasury yield ended last week with a rise of 6 basis points. On Monday the 10-year yield edged 1 basis point higher to 1.64%.
German benchmark yields rose to their highest since March 2020 as growing signs of a strong recovery in the euro zone economy encourages more selling of safe-haven government debt, while Italian yields reached their highest since September.
The German 10-year yield rose more than 3 basis points to -0.162%.
“Recovery is picking up, vaccinations are accelerating, reopening is nearing,” said Arne Petimezas, analyst at AFS Group in Amsterdam.
The rise in Germany yields accelerated last week when German inflation advanced further above the European Central Bank’s target, and U.S. data showed economic growth speed up in the first quarter.
In currency markets, the dollar index stood at 91.115, down 0.1% on the day but still off a two-month trough of 90.422. The dollar ended April with a loss of 2% and has been pressured by the rapid expansion of the U.S. budget and trade deficits.
The euro rose 0.3% to $1.2051, having backtracked from a nine-week peak of $1.2149 on Friday.
Cryptocurrency ether scaled a new record high beyond $3,000 as investors bet that it will be of ever greater use in a decentralised future financial system. Its lightning rally – now up 325% in 2021 – has eclipsed that of bigger rival bitcoin.
For a graphic on Ethereum hits record high, quadruples in value in 2021:
Oil prices ran into profit-taking, having ended last month with gains of 6% to 8%, on concerns about demand in India as the country battles a new wave of COVID-19. [O/R]
Oil prices later stabilised and Brent was little changed at $66.75 a barrel, while U.S. crude gained 18 cents to $63.79 per barrel.
Commodity prices, including oil, metals and many agricultural products, have rallied hard in recent weeks as investors wager on a wave of new demand as economies reopen.
(Additional reporting by Wayne Cole in Sydney and Yoruk Bahceli in Amsterdam; Editing by Mark Heinrich and Chizu Nomiyama)