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Markets

China buyers re-emerge, patient Fed saps dollar

  • China shares bounce, still down sharply on week
  • Fed sees progress on economy, but not there yet
  • Senate passes infrastructure bill, more votes ahead
  • Facebook stock down after warning on revenue growth
29 Jul 2021

LONDON: World share markets were back on form on Thursday as the US Federal Reserve signalled it was in no rush to taper stimulus and reassurances from Beijing saw beaten-up Chinese stocks leap off the canvas.

There was also some promising news on the long-awaited US infrastructure bill as the Senate voted overnight to move ahead on the $1.2 trillion deal, as well as it being a packed day of earnings and economic data.

The rebound in China's markets included a 10% bounce in tech giant Tencent - its second biggest in nearly a decade - after reports that regulators had called banks overnight to ease concerns about the recent crackdown on sectors like tech and education, and on overseas listings.

Chinese blue-chip shares bounced 1.9%. The main tech index jumped 3.2%, while an S&P/BNY Mellon index of US-listed stocks soared 8.3%. That was its best day ever, although it is still down 20% in July and nearly 50% since February.

European stocks rise as earnings lift sentiment

"Beijing is working hard to stem the growing concerns surrounding its regulatory crackdown," said RBC's head of Asia FX strategy Alvin Tan

European stocks hit all-time highs as strong earnings from Total and Shell, Airbus and others offset a near 3% drop in Swiss bank Credit Suisse, which reported a near 80% profit plunge in the wake of Archegos and Greensill calamities.

MSCI's broadest index of emerging market shares also bounced 2% having slid to its lowest since early December on Wednesday. China's Tencent and Alibaba make up 10% of that index alone.

Japan's Nikkei had also edged up 0.7% in Asia.

S&P 500 futures were up a more subdued 0.15% though and Nasdaq futures dipped 0.1%, perhaps weighed by a retreat in Facebook stock.

European stocks ease from peaks, Prosus hits 1-year low

Facebook fell 3.6% in after-hours trading after it warned revenue growth would "decelerate significantly" following Apple's recent update to its iOS operating system which is expected to heavily impact target ads.

PEAK GROWTH?

Markets were still digesting the Federal Reserve's policy statement after it said progress had been made toward its economic goals, seeming to bring nearer the day when it might start tapering its massive asset-buying campaign.

Peak growth was also a nagging theme. Data due later on Thursday is expected to show the US economy likely grew at the fastest pace in 38 years in the last quarter as government aid and vaccinations fuelled spending.

However, Fed Chair Jerome Powell added a dovish slant at the central bank's news conference by emphasising that they were "some ways away" from the substantial progress on jobs needed to start tapering.

JPMorgan economist Michael Feroli said there were three more US job reports before the November meeting, and then two more between the November and December meetings. "We continue to expect a December announcement (on tapering), though we see a risk it could occur in November," Feroli said.

While the next Fed meeting is not until late September, there is also the annual Jackson Hole policy symposium on Aug. 26-28, meaning tapering talk won't be taking a break.

For bonds, the net result was that US 10-year yields were steady at 1.257%, not far from recent five-month lows of 1.128%.

"My view is that (longer term) the Fed policy rate will have a 1% handle," said PineBridge's Global Head of Credit and Fixed Income Steven Oh. "I don't see an outcome where we see runaway inflation by any stretch of the imagination".

The pattern was the same for the dollar, which edged up after the FOMC statement only to flag on Powell's remarks and then dribble lower in both Asia and European trading.

That left the euro up at $1.1871, and some way from its recent four-month trough of $1.1750.

The dollar faded to 109.81 yen from a top of 110.58 early in the week, all of which saw the dollar index dip to 92.018, off its recent peak of 93.194.

In commodity markets, China-sensitive copper rose 1.25% and gold nudged up to $1,817 an ounce, though it remained in the $30 range of the past 17 sessions.

Oil prices also firmed after data showed US crude inventories fell to pre-pandemic levels, bringing the market's focus back to tight supplies rather than rising COVID-19 infections.

Brent was last up 73 cents at $75.47 a barrel, while US crude added 80 cents to $73.21.

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