MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.2%
Ahead of a long Christmas weekend in the United States, Wall Street stocks gained on Thursday to finish a shortened trading week on a strong footing. The S&P 500 gained 0.62% to notch a record-high close amid the persisting optimism about strong economic updates and signs that Omicron is less likely to lead to hospitalization. Durable goods orders rose 2.5 versus 1.5% expected while personal income and spending both showed increases for last month. As such, the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq added 0.55% and 0.85%, respectively.
Today in Asia, equities were mixed, with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rising 0.2%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 finished just below the flat-line, while Shanghai Composite lost 0.7% after rising coronavirus cases in Xi’an resulted in a lockdown of its 13 million residents. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.44%. Markets in Hong Kong and Singapore were closed on Friday due to Christmas Eve.
European stock markets opened mixed in thin trading conditions on Christmas Eve. Markets in Germany, Italy, and Switzerland are closed. In the UK, the FTSE 100 was up 0.28%. In individual stocks, HSBC has bought the mutual fund arm of Indian firm L&T Finance Holdings for $425 million. HSBC stocks gained 0.63% in early deals on Friday. US equity and Treasury markets will be closed today for the holiday.
In currencies, the dollar looks directionless, consolidating losses seen earlier in the week. The USD index failed to extend gains as risk sentiment improved, thus capping demand for safe-haven assets. As such, EURUSD regained the 20-DMA to settle around this week’s highs in the 1.1340 area. However, the pair will likely fail to overcome this barrier in the short term due to thin trading conditions.