Most Asian stocks gained, extending the rally that took global equities to a record high after a U.S. jobs report signaled the economic recovery remained intact. But didn’t yet warrant any immediate withdrawal of Federal Reserve stimulus.
Even with the Nikkei falling 0.5%, Japanese markets bucked the trend. This is by following a surge in COVID infections in Tokyo, just weeks before the Olympics. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3%. According to Kyle Rodda, a market analyst at IG in Melbourne, some of those upside moves might be capped and price action might be choppy. Trading is set to be thinner than usual. Rodda said that given Friday’s nonfarm payrolls numbers, things are still really, really optimistic. Conditions are right for equities to continue to push higher right across the globe.
The MSCI All Country World index closed at a record 724.66. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.4% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.8% to hit a record. U.S. nonfarm payrolls increased by a bigger-than-expected 850,000 jobs last month. But the unemployment rate unexpectedly ticked up to 5.9% from 5.8%. Tapas Strickland, an analyst at National Australia Bank, wrote in a client note that the goldilocks print suggests there is no need to accelerate the tapering timeline or the implied rate hike profile. Overall, the level of payrolls is still 6.8 million below pre-pandemic February 2020 levels. From last month, eyes will be trained on the minutes of the Federal Open Markets Committee meeting.
U.S. bond markets were closed for the holiday, after the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield sank to 1.4306%. The dollar was mostly flat after dropping from a three-month high at the end of last week, pressured by the weaker details of the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report. Crude oil slipped as OPEC+ talks dragged on. Brent crude fell 29 cents to $75.88 a barrel, and U.S. crude lost 24 cents to $74.92 a barrel.