Taking cues from a firmer close on Wall Street overnight, Asian markets advanced, and European bourses are pointing to a stronger start.
Wall Streets’ main indices closed higher as investors bet on high profile tech stocks before their earnings reports later in the week and as they weighed up progress in US government stimulus efforts against rising covid cases.
Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Alphabet are all due to report this week and were among the top gainers overnight, resulting in the Nasdaq closing +1.7% higher, outperforming both the Dow and the S&P.
US senators also raced to complete details of a $1 trillion coronavirus rescue package before the enhanced unemployment benefits expire on Friday. The proposal needs to be negotiated with Democrats, an almost guaranteed showdown. There are doubts that the rescue package would provide sufficient support to the economy.
Second wave fears linger
Coronavirus concerns remain with outbreaks and flare ups across the globe making the prospect of a second wave very real. China, Hong Kong, France, Germany and Spain are all seeing a spike in covid cases.
Spain is under the spotlight as the UK imposes a revised 10-day quarantine rule for those returning from the Iberian Peninsula. Spain is highly dependent on its tourism sector and these measures in peak season will negatively impact the fragile economic recovery there.
The economic calendar is light today, with Spanish unemployment in focus. Expectations are for unemployment to continue to rise to 16.2%, up from 14.4%.
Looking ahead US consumer confidence is also in focus with expectations for a decline in confidence after a rebound in June.
Gold soars to almost $2000
Gold soared to a record high in the Asian session, supported by a weaker dollar and safe haven demand. Spot gold rallied to within striking distance of $2000, as the precious metal continued its relentless climb. Covid fears, elevated US – Sino tensions and the prospect of an additional $1 trillion stimulus package in the US sent gold soaring. Attention will turn towards the Fed which started a two day policy meeting today, due to conclude tomorrow. Expectations are for a dovish Fed, willing to see inflation pass its target before rates will rise, potentially adding more pressure to the US Dollar. A weak greenback is gold positive, making it cheaper for international buyers.
Gold has surged over 30% YTD making it one of the best performing assets. Gold is up 9% over the past 6 session. Whilst the rally in the precious metal is pausing for breath we very much doubt that this is the peak.