Washington and Beijing had agreed to hold a virtual meeting before the end of the year
Wall Street equities ended higher for a second day in a row overnight amid signs of progress on the debt ceiling debate. Meanwhile, a report from ADP showed that 568,000 private-sector jobs were created in September versus 425,000 expected. On the negative side, the previous reading was revised down to 340,000 from 374,000. Now, investor focus shifts to a closely watched nonfarm payrolls report due on Friday. During the session, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.3%, the S&P 500 rose 0.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index added 0.5%. In individual stocks, Microsoft rose 1.5%, Amazon gained nearly 1.3%, and Alphabet advanced 1.1%.
Tracking a rally in the US, Asian stock markets rose on Thursday amid the reports that Washington and Beijing had agreed to hold a virtual meeting before the end of the year. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-pacific shares outside Japan jumped 1.25%. Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.54% despite the Bank of Japan slashed its economic assessment for five of Japan’s nine regional economies in its latest quarterly report. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.7% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng surged 2.6%. Trading was closed in Shanghai for a Chinese national holiday.
In currencies, the dollar extended gains to notch fresh highs on Wednesday before steadying early on Thursday. EURUSD is slightly off mid-2020 lows seen at 1.1530 yesterday, looking vulnerable to further losses despite the oversold conditions. On the data front, industrial production in Germany dropped sharply by 4% on a monthly basis in August versus a 0.4% drop expected and 1% last. On an annualized basis, production rose by just 1.7% versus 11.4% expected and a 6% growth reported in July.
Elsewhere, oil prices corrected lower from fresh three-year highs on Wednesday. Brent crude peaked around $83.50 before retreating to the $80.60 area. Today, the prices have settled below the $80 figure amid profit-taking. Brent failed to hold around fresh highs as the U.S. Energy Information Administration said U.S. crude inventories rose by 2.3 million barrels last week. Gasoline inventories also rose.