Asian stocks looked set to follow gains on Wall Street amid speculation lawmakers are edging closer to a stimulus deal aimed at reviving the world’s largest economy. Treasuries fell as the Federal Reserve disappointed some traders who expected changes to its bond buying program.
Futures rose in Japan and were little changed in Hong Kong, while Australian shares opened higher. S&P 500 futures were flat after the gauge notched back-to-back gains. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Congressional leaders are still talking about fresh aid and he thinks “we’re gonna get there.” Retailers and technology shares drove the advance in the benchmark gauge amid thin trading volume.
Treasuries pared some losses, with the yield on 10-year notes remaining just above 0.9%. The dollar edged lower. Elsewhere, Bitcoin surpassed $20,000 for the first time. Oil held gains seen in the wake of a surprise decline in U.S. crude inventories. New Zealand bonds sank after better-than-expected economic-growth data.
Investors await developments on stimulus talks after months of deadlock amid signs the economic recovery is faltering. Lawmakers are rushing to finalize the package in time to attach it to crucial government spending legislation and pass by the end of the week. The virus-related measures are expected to be worth nearly $900 billion.
Meanwhile, the Fed strengthened its commitment to support the U.S. economy, promising to maintain its massive asset purchase program until it sees “substantial further progress” in employment and inflation. Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the case for fiscal stimulus is “very, very strong” as the pandemic continues to rage.
“The 12-month outlook looks quite a bit better, because we have high conviction now that there is going to be mass vaccination,” Brian Nick, chief investment strategist at Nuveen, said on Bloomberg TV. “There’s not going to be as acute of a health crisis as we’re experiencing right now.”
On the virus front, the first known allergic reaction to the Pfizer Inc. Covid-19 vaccine in the U.S. was reported in Alaska as some snarls began to emerge in the effort to send the shots across the country — highlighting the challenges ahead for a historic immunization drive.
Here are some key events coming up:
- Policy decisions from the Bank of England and central banks in Mexico, Switzerland and Indonesia are due Thursday. Japan and Russia announce decisions Friday.
These are some of the main moves in markets:
- S&P 500 futures were flat as of 8:02 a.m. in…
Go to the news source: Stock Market Today: Dow, S&P Live Updates for Dec. 17, 2020