Market Overview

Asian stocks up on dovish ECB as Biden signs stimulus

Asian shares rose on Friday after U.S. President Joe Biden signed a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill into law, and after a dovish European Central Bank meeting prompted a retreat in bond yields and eased global concerns about rising inflation. But European shares, which had jumped on Thursday’s ECB meeting, looked set to retreat from a one-year peak a day later. Pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures were down 0.03% and both German DAX futures and FTSE futures were down about 0.2% in early deals.

Biden signed the stimulus legislation ahead of a televised address in which he pledged aggressive action to speed vaccinations and move the country closer to normality by July 4. The signing of the American Rescue Plan provided a further boost to market sentiment after the European Central Bank said it was ready to accelerate money-printing to keep a lid on borrowing costs, using its 1.85 trillion euro Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program (PEPP) more generously over the coming months to stop any unwarranted rise in debt financing costs.

That and a better-than-expected U.S. government bond auction could support a rally in tech stocks and a rotation between growth and value stocks in the next few weeks, said Cliff Zhao, chief strategist at China Construction Bank International in Hong Kong.

MSCI’s broadest gauge index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.53%, supported by tech gains. Seoul’s KOSPI added 1.39%, Taiwan shares were up 0.27% and Australia’s ASX 200 gained 0.79%. Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.58%, and China’s blue-chip CSI300 index inched up 0.05% as sagging high-valuation tech and consumer firms capped gains.

U.S. Treasury yields were higher on Friday, with the 10-year yield at 1.5512% after falling to 1.475% overnight, its first foray below 1.5% in a week. The German 10-year yield was last at -0.331% after hitting a three-week low of -0.367%.

The dollar gained 0.22% against the yen to 108.73 and the euro fell 0.18% on the day to $1.1963. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six major rivals, rose 0.14% to 91.568. Oil prices retreated from sharp gains as the dollar firmed, with U.S. crude dipping 0.41% to $65.75 a barrel. Brent crude lost 0.27% to $69.44 per barrel.

Spot gold prices fell 0.22% to $1,717.70 an ounce.

Asian stocks up on dovish ECB as Biden signs stimulus, Reuters, Mar 12

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