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Markets

Shares hold up as economic optimism offsets Archegos fallout

  • World shares rise slightly, US futures off lows.
  • Nomura, Credit Suisse warn on losses after Archegos share sale.
  • Markets hopeful ahead of Biden infrastructure plan.
  • Oil prices turn positive ahead of OPEC+ meeting.
29 Mar, 2021

MILAN: World shares held up on Monday as optimism about the economic recovery and hopes that the Suez Canal could be reopened soon offset uncertainty related to the default of a US hedge fund.

Investors were on edge about who had been caught out in the default of the fund, named by sources as Archegos Capital, after Nomura and Credit Suisse warned of big losses and block trades on Friday hit some US and Chinese stocks.

The partial re-floating of the huge container ship blocking the Suez Canal for nearly a week however raised hopes that the vital waterway could reopen soon and ease global shipping backlogs.

Investors were also looking to President Joe Biden to outline this week his infrastructure spending plan, which could supercharge an already accelerating US recovery.

"There is plenty of US fiscal stimulus in supply and therefore growth in the coming quarters is going to be very good," said Giuseppe Sersale, fund manager at Anthilia in Milan.

"I don't see Archegos posing a systemic threat at the moment and don't think its default will represent a watershed between a bull and a bear market," he added.

The MSCI world equity index, which tracks shares in 49 countries, rose 0.1% by 1205 GMT.

After a mixed performance in Asia, shares in Europe turned higher and were last up 0.3%, while US futures dipped slightly although they came off earlier lows. Nasdaq futures fell 0.1% and S&P 500 futures fell 0.4%.

US and euro zone volatility gauges picked up from last week's lows.

Credit Suisse shares were set for their worst day in one year, down 14%, while Nomura fell 16% in its largest drop on record, limiting gains for Japanese shares.

Barclays economist Christian Keller in London said he expected large US fiscal stimulus to expand "robustly" at 6.4% with positive spillovers for the rest of the world.

"Rising inflation over the coming months should be transitory, and core central banks seem committed to looking through it," he said.

The prospect of faster US economic growth has spurred speculation of rising inflation and weighed on Treasury prices.

Yields on US 10-year notes eased a touch to 1.646%, but were not far from the recent 13-month top of 1.754%.

European yields have been restrained by active buying from the European Central Bank, widening the dollar's yield advantage over the euro. The single currency was last down 0.1% at $1.177 , just above a five-month low hit last week.

The dollar index was little changed at 92.769, after reaching its highest since mid-November last week.

The lift in yields has weighed on gold, which offers no fixed return. Spot gold was down 0.4% at $1,724 an ounce.

Oil reversed earlier losses on expectations that the OPEC+ group of leading producers will keep output unchanged when it meets this week.

Investors also bet that operations in the Suez Canal might take weeks to return to normal even though a ship blocking it has been partly refloated.

Brent were up 0.8% to $65.09 a barrel, while US crude added 0.7% to $61.38 per barrel.

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