Global stocks pause as investors wait for economic news

Positive news on vaccines has fuelled optimism on markets

Photograph: Hendrik Schmidt-Pool/Getty Images

Photograph: Hendrik Schmidt-Pool/Getty Images

 

Global stocks paused amid their best monthly gains in three decades as investors awaited a slew of economic indicators that could support the rally in risk assets.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index drifted at the open, as cyclicals such as mining and energy firms fell, offsetting advances in defensives including utility shares. Bank stocks edged higher following a report that Eurozone lenders may be able to resume dividend payments next year if their balance sheets are strong enough.

S&P 500 futures edged up after the underlying index closed at a record on Tuesday. A raft of indicators are due today, from jobless claims to readings on consumer confidence and personal income. A gauge of Asia-Pacific shares gave up an earlier 1.1 per cent gain.

Positive vaccine news as well as the formal start of President-elect Joe Biden’s transition to power – including the selection of Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary – have fuelled optimism about the outlook. At the same time, restrictions to curb surging coronavirus infections threaten to impede the global economic recovery. The MSCI gauge of global shares remains up about 13 per cent in November, set for the best month since it began in 1988.

In addition to the US economic data on Wednesday, traders will also be keeping an eye on minutes of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

“Now, there’s big event risk up ahead: FOMC minutes,” said Ilya Spivak, head Asia-Pacific strategist at DailyFX. “The worry is that the Fed will continue to signal that they’re keeping to a hands-off posture. No tightening, but no new easing either.”

Elsewhere, oil held above $45 a barrel in New York, and copper touched the highest since 2014.

Elsewhere, Bitcoin retreated after topping $19,000. – Bloomberg