DOW JONES, HANG SENG, ASIA-PACIFIC MARKET OUTLOOK:
- US equity indices climbed to their record highs even though nonfarm payroll data disappointed
- Asia-Pacific stocks opened mixed, with ASX 200 edging higher while the Nikkei 225 and Hang Seng opened flat
- The US may soon start deploying the coronavirus vaccine, raising hope for a faster economic recovery
Jobs Data, Vaccines, Asia-Pacific Stocks Weekly Outlook:
Asia-Pacific stocks look set to follow a strong US lead on Monday, although upward momentum appears to have faltered recently. A much lower-than-expected US nonfarm payrolls number reflected the deeper impact brought by the pandemic, and thus reignited hopes for more fiscal and monetary support. Some 245k nonfarm jobs were added last month, much lower than the baseline forecast of 469k. This also marks a fifth consecutive monthly slowdown in the pace of job market expansion. The unemployment rate fell to 6.7% from 6.9% in a month before, largely due to a 0.2% decline in the labor force participation rate.
US Nonfarm Payroll – 12 months
Source: Bloomberg, DailyFX
Major western economies are on course to deploying coronavirus vaccines, with the UK giving the green light to the distribution of Pfizer’s version last week. US Health and Human Service Secretary Alex Azar said all Americans should be able to get vaccinated by mid next year and that the distribution could start as early as this week.
Vaccine hopes and weaker job market data sent three major US indices to their record highs on Friday. The next question may be where the US Dollar will lead stock markets to if the rollout of vaccines helps to revitalize growth and buoy inflation in the months to come. The US Dollar and the S&P 500 index exhibited high negative correlation over the past 12 months, with a correlation coefficient of -0.80. A severely oversold US Dollar flags risk for a technical rebound that may weigh on the stock markets’ rally. Read more in my USD-S&P 500 report here.
Asia-Pacific stocks have capitalized on recent tailwinds, but upward momentum appears to have faltered after scoring astonishing gains in November. Trading towards the year-end may be quieter due to seasonality and holiday reasons. The Nikkei 225 index registered a 10-year average monthly return of 0.93% in December, marking its fifth-worst-performing month. For Australia’s ASX 200 index and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index, the 10-year average returns in December are 1.31% and 0.46% respectively.
Recommended by Margaret Yang, CFA
What is the road ahead for equities this quarter?
Sector-wise, 8 out of 9 Dow sectors closed in the green, with 80.0% of the index’s constituents ending higher on Friday. Energy (+3.88%), materials…
Go to the news source: Edging Higher with Fading Momentum