© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Security guard wearing a face mask walks past the Bund Financial Bull statue on The Bund in Shanghai
By Swati Pandey
SYDNEY (Reuters) – Gold scaled a new high on Wednesday as a weaker dollar and falling bond yields burnished its safe-haven appeal, while shares ticked higher as investors turned their focus to stepped-up monetary and fiscal support globally.
Risk assets such as equities have surged in recent months on massive policy stimulus from central banks and governments, but gold has also rallied in a sign of heightened uncertainty around the long-term effects of the global health crisis.
European futures () started in green with futures () up 0.4% and those for France’s () up 0.2%. Futures for London’s () rose 0.37% while E-minis for the S&P 500 () reversed early losses to climb 0.2%.
Analysts said equities would struggle a bit until the U.S. Congress agrees on a stimulus package and ahead of corporate earnings from tech giants later in the week.
White House negotiators have vowed to work “around the clock” to reach a spending deal by the end of the week.
Markets also latched on to comments from the president of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco that the U.S. economy will need more support than initially thought, sending long-term Treasury yields into a downward spiral.
“Failure to agree to another round of stimulus would hit the U.S. economy hard at a time when high-frequency data suggests it is losing some momentum,” said Tapas Strickland, analyst at Melbourne-based National Australia Bank (OTC:).
The United States has reported more than 4.7 million coronavirus cases and over 157,000 deaths, the highest globally.
On Wednesday, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia Pacific shares outside of Japan () rose 0.5% to a 6-1/2 month peak at 563.28 points.
, off 0.3% and Australia’s benchmark index (), down 0.6%, were notable underperformers in Asia while Chinese shares were mildly weaker though still near a recent five-year peak. ()
South Korea’s Kospi <.ksii> bucked the trend to hit its highest level since October 2018.
On Wall Street, the Dow () had ended up 0.6% on Tuesday, the S&P 500 () rose 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite () added 0.4%.
“Significantly increased odds” of more monetary policy stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve is a key driver of equities although the rally has been reined in by stretched valuations, Mizuho analysts wrote in a note.
More central bank support is also dragging U.S. Treasury yields lower, led by the long-end of the curve, and helping “fire-up gold’s glitter”, they added.
GREENBACK UNDER PRESSURE
The dollar was under pressure
The risk-sensitive Australian dollar
The was last up 0.3% at $0.7184 while the common currency was inching toward a two-year high at $1.1811, buttressed by hardening perception that the U.S. rebound is lagging Europe.
Investors are now waiting for an Aug. 15 video conference where senior U.S. and Chinese officials are set to review a trade deal and likely air mutual grievances, according to sources.
China’s U.S. envoy on Tuesday said Beijing does not want tensions to escalate.
In commodities, oil prices reversed early losses with Brent crude () up 5 cents at $44.48 a barrel. U.S. crude () added 2 cents to $41.72.