Global Stocks Dip On Friday

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Global stocks dipped on Friday despite President Joe Biden signing the $1.9 trillion stimulus package into law, a day earlier than planned, as fresh concerns grew over rising COVID-19 cases in Europe. sh_cad_3

Futures on the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq fell between 0.2% and 1.4%, suggesting a lower open for US markets later in the day. sh_cad_4

“The Dow Jones’s stimulus-package celebrations appear like they have come to an end,” said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx, after the S&P 500 and Dow closed Thursday’s session at record highs. “It isn’t expected to endure much of a hangover, however,” he said. sh_cad_5

In his first prime-time address since moving to the White House, Biden said all adults in the US would be eligible to receive vaccine shots by May 1. The White House separately announced that the $1,400 stimulus checks would be sent out as early as the weekend. sh_cad_6

UBS said it expects market conditions to remain volatile, with three main drivers supporting equities – stimulus, pandemic news, and recent inflation data. sh_cad_7

Yields on the 10-year Treasury note rose by 7 basis points on Friday to 1.591% after spending most of Thursday’s session lower. sh_cad_8

“We continue to see developments supporting the upside for equities,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. “As growth accelerates, we see the best performance from cyclical parts of the market, including small-caps and emerging markets.” sh_cad_9

Elsewhere in Europe, France and Germany are resisting imposing lockdowns, even as the former sees 350 cases per 100,000 inhabitants weekly and the latter, the most cases since late-January. sh_cad_10

Meanwhile, the European Central Bank signaled on Thursday it would accelerate the pace of asset purchases to cap rising yields. sh_cad_11

“The ECB did what was expected on policy-nothing,” said Paul Donovan, chief economist at UBS Global Wealth Management. “After a slow start, they have promised to start buying bonds more quickly. Higher-yielding Euro area government bonds liked that. Other markets were indifferent.” sh_cad_12

However, the euro seemed to have gained a “pass mark,” because the ECB didn’t increase the size of its bond-buying program and instead chose to front-load it, said Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at OANDA. sh_cad_13

The Euro Stoxx 50 fell 0.4% and Germany’s DAX fell 0.3%. sh_cad_14

The UK posted a 3.9% decline in January GDP, affected by tougher lockdown restrictions that led to shuttered businesses. That left the economy 9% smaller than what it was before the pandemic struck in March 2020, the Office for National Statistics said. But this was well above expectations for a contraction of 4.9% in the first month of the year. sh_cad_15

London’s FTSE 100 fell 0.2%. sh_cad_16

In Asia, China’s antitrust regulator has slapped fines on some of its biggest tech companies including Tencent and Baidu, which dented sentiment in the tech sector. sh_cad_17

But Biden’s stimulus is expected to be a short-term driver for Asian markets. China’s Shanghai Composite rose 0.4%, Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.7%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 2.3%. sh_cad_18

Oil markets slipped, as the recent bull market correction continued. Brent crude futures fell 0.4% to $69.35 and West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.6% to $65.65. sh_cad_19


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