Stocks Poised for Muted Start; Pound Ticks Up: Markets Wrap

Stocks looked set for a cautious start to the week as traders monitored developments on progress toward a vaccine. The pound ticked up.

S&P 500 futures opened with little fanfare and Australian shares edged higher in early Monday trading as global equities remain within a whisker of the record high set earlier this month. Vaccinations against Covid-19 in the U.S. will “hopefully” start in less than three weeks, according to the head of the federal government’s program to accelerate a vaccine. Japan is shut for a holiday and Treasuries won’t trade until the London open.

With coronavirus cases and deaths still surging in many parts of the world and daily infections hovering near record levels in the U.S., investors remain focused on data emanating from vaccine trials. As well as concern about the impact on the global recovery, the public spat that emerged last week between the Trump administration and the Federal Reserve over emergency lending facilities has unnerved investors.

”There is a lot of enthusiasm over the vaccine news and rightly so — as soon as we can get something that is very effective distributed widely, the sooner we can get back to ordinary life,” Brian Jacobsen, multi-asset strategist at Wells Fargo Asset Management, said on Bloomberg TV. “The problem, from our perspective, is we first have to get through winter and this is setting us up for some downside economic surprises.”

Here are some key events coming up:

  • Minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting are due Wednesday.
  • U.S. jobless claims, GDP and personal spending data comes Wednesday.
  • U.K. expected on Wednesday to deliver the government’s spending plans for next year.
  • Thursday sees a policy decision and briefing from the Bank of Korea.
  • U.S. celebrates the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.
  • The week ends with Black Friday, the traditional start of the U.S. holiday shopping season.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures dipped 0.1% as of 8:01 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge fell 0.7% on Friday.
  • Hang Seng futures rose 0.3% on Friday.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.2% in early Monday trading.

Currencies

  • The yen was at 103.84 per dollar, little changed.
  • The offshore yuan was at 6.5564 per dollar, down 0.1%.
  • The euro bought $1.1858.
  • The pound rose 0.2% to $1.3297.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries ended last week at 0.82%. Futures were little changed.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.1% to $42.48 a barrel.
  • Gold was at $1,870.14 an ounce.

— With assistance by Haidi Lun, and Shery Ahn

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