Renewed China-U.S. tensions weigh on investor sentiment
Wall Street stocks rose overnight as investors were monitoring runoff elections in Georgia. Markets bet on Democrats victory that would open the door to a large fiscal stimulus package. On the negative side, a highly contagious strain of COVID-19 discovered in the U.K. also has been found in California and other parts of the United States. As such, the S&P 500 rose 0.7%, the Nasdaq Composite gained 1%, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.55%.
Today in Asia, equities were mixed-to-lower as renewed China-U.S. tensions weighed on investor sentiment after Trump signed an executive order banning transactions with eight Chinese apps including Alipay and WeChat Pay. Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, authorities arrested dozens of pro-democracy figures, including lawmakers for allegedly violating a national security law.
Also, traders remain focused on the outcome of the runoff elections in Georgia, which will determine which party controls the Senate. As a result, Japan’s Nikkei 225 lost 0.38% and the Kospi in South Korea shed 0.75%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.15% and the Shanghai Composite index added 0.63%, while in Australia, the S&/ASX 200 dropped 1.2%.
European stocks opened higher on Wednesday, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index being up 0.2%. Oil majors were leading the gains as crude prices hit their highest since February 2020 following Saudi Arabia’s pledge to cut output to support the market. On the negative side, Germany has extended its lockdown until the end of the month, while a third national lockdown should not be ruled out in France.
Meanwhile, the dollar continues to suffer losses versus major counterparts as positive risk sentiment persists. EURUSD rallied to fresh April-2018 highs around 1.2345 as the USD index kept losing momentum, approaching the 89.00 handle on Wednesday. The common currency derived extra support from the economic front, as the Eurozone PPI rose 0.4% in November versus +0.2% expected.