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Investors charge back into stocks on signs coronavirus spread is slowing

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LONDON (Reuters) – A drop in the number of new coronavirus cases and the Federal Reserve chairman’s optimistic view of the economy lifted world stocks for a third day on Wednesday and sparked a 2% rally in oil prices, on hopes the epidemic’s effects would be contained.

FILE PHOTO: An investor monitors share market prices in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, August 25, 2015. REUTERS/Olivia Harris.

China reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases since late January, lending weight to a prediction from its senior medical adviser that the outbreak might be over by April. A continued decline in new cases would inflict would keep the epidemic from doing as much economic damage as initially feared,

Those reports encouraged investors to get back into equities at the expense of bonds, gold and the Japanese yen — safe-haven assets that benefited as the virus death toll mounted.

“The virus may retard the modest upturn in global trade and manufacturing output which we predict to unfold from the second quarter of 2020s. But it seems unlikely to derail it,” analysts at Berenberg told clients.

The damage to Western economies in particular “will likely be modest and mostly temporary,” the bank said.

MSCI’s global equity index rose 0.12% to stand just off Tuesday’s record highs .MIWD00000PUS. A pan-European equity index rose to a record as automobile stocks — which depend on exports to China — jumped 1.2% .SXAP.

Futures indicated Wall Street would extend gains from Tuesday, when the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posted record closing highs ESC1 [.N].

In Asia, mainland Chinese and Hong Kong shares rose almost 1% .CSI300. The offshore-traded yuan reached two-week highs CNH=D3. The Thai baht, Korean won and Taiwanese dollar, reliant on Chinese tourism and trade, gained 0.3% to 0.5% THB= KRW= TWD=. The yen slipped 0.3% JPY=EBS to a three-week low against the dollar.

Brent crude futures rose from 13-month lows, helped by the likelihood producers would cut output LCOc1. Brent is still down almost 20% from its peaks in early January.

Some noted it remained unclear whether the coronavirus had peaked. Some Chinese companies said they were laying off workers as supply chains for goods had ruptured.

“Evidence suggests the positive mood will continue, and we see some coordination in markets with oil rallying, base metals up and Treasuries coming under pressure,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. But “I am not ready to buy risk assets yet.”

U.S. RESILIENCE

Yields on U.S. Treasuries and German Bunds US10YT=RR rose 3 to 4 basis points. Ten-year U.S. yields are now 13 bps off the four-and-a-half-month lows hit late January though almost 30 bps below where they started 2020.

Yields had risen on Tuesday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy was “resilient”. Powell also said he was monitoring the coronavirus, because it could lead to disruptions that affect the global economy.

The dollar had risen to four-month highs against a basket of currencies .DXY but inched off those levels on Wednesday.

U.S. markets also got a boost from signs President Donald Trump might be re-elected in November, since centrist candidates for the Democratic nomination appear to be struggling .

“Trump had a great start into the U.S. election season. After the early end of the impeachment trial in the Senate and the Iowa caucus chaos for the Democrats, betting markets suggest that Trump has a 58% probability of winning re-election on 3 November,” Berenberg noted.

The day’s big currency mover was the New Zealand dollar NZD=D3, which rose 0.8% for its biggest daily gain since December, after the central bank dropped a reference to further rate cuts, suggesting its easing cycle might be over.

Additional reporting by Stanley White in Tokyo, editing by Larry King

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Waning ECB stimulus bets push bond yields higher

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LONDON (Reuters) – Global bond yields rose on Monday, amid growing caution over the extent to which the European Central Bank will add stimulus to boost an ailing economy this week and rising hopes that Berlin could loosen its purse strings.

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, September 6, 2019. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

Germany’s 30-year benchmark bond yield briefly broke into positive territory for the first time in more than a month, while U.S. Treasury yields climbed to 18-day highs.

Safe-haven assets have been caught up in the fixed income sell-off, with gold XAU= touching a one-month trough and Japan’s yen plumbing a five-week low. But equities failed to make gains, as weak Chinese producer prices data dampened the mood.

The bond moves comes as markets are gearing up for Thursday’s European Central Bank (ECB) meeting, which is widely expected to deliver a cut to interest rates and point to further bond-buying stimulus.

However, there is a growing chorus of opinion that ECB policymakers and other central banks with negative interest rates and sub-zero long-term sovereign bond yields are nearing the limits of stimulus policies.

Germany also starts to debate its 2020 budget in parliament later in the day, where Finance Minister Olaf Scholz’s speech will be scrutinized after Reuters reported Berlin was looking into creating a “shadow budget” to boost public investment and effectively circumvent limits set by its national debt rules.

“These stories have become more frequent in recent weeks,” said Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid. “Whilst the market always gets more excited by the headlines than is justified by hard evidence of any change in policy, it’s fair to conclude that market pressure and chatter on this story is building.”

Europe’s largest economy is teetering on the brink of recession, but strict national spending rules have tied policymakers hands on fiscal policy.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is also widely expected to cut interest rates next week as policymakers race to shield the global economy from risks, which also include Britain’s planned exit from the European Union.

With interest rates plumbing record lows in many countries and the effectiveness of further bond-buying muted by already record-low borrowing costs for governments, attention has turned to increased public spending or tax cuts to fire up growth.

A CHINESE CLOUD

The sell-off in fixed income markets failed to lift global stocks, where the mood was subdued amid concerns over the health of the world economy.

Data showing China’s mainland factory-gate prices shrank at their fastest pace in three years, as flagging demand at home and abroad forced some businesses to slash prices, saw Asian bourses slip lower.

In Europe, the pan-European stocks benchmark index STOXX 600 fell 0.4% in a second day of losses.

China-sensitive German stocks .GDAXI eased 0.3% while France’s CAC .FCHI dropped 0.6%.

“China inflation data was probably the worst combination of prints the market could have hoped for,” said Stephen Innes, Market Strategist AXI Trader.

“While the enormous slide in China factory gate prices reminded us of what we already know, U.S. tariffs are sinking the Chinese economy and at a much quicker pace than anyone could have imagined.”

However, climbing bond yields helped lift European banking stocks .SX7P 0.3% – one of the few sectors in the black.

U.S. stock futures pointed to a lower open on Wall Street after the S&P 500 .SPX ended flat in New York on Monday.

In currencies, the rise in Treasury yields helped lift the dollar to touch a five-week high of 107.50 yen JPY=EBS. The euro EUR=EBS was flat at $1.104 after reaching an overnight high of $1.1067.

The pound GBP=D3 traded near a six-week high of $1.2385 after a law came into force demanding that Prime Minister Boris Johnson delay Britain’s departure from the European Union unless he can strike a divorce deal with the bloc.

Oil futures hit their highest level in six weeks in Asia after Saudi Arabia’s new energy minister confirmed he would stick with his country’s policy of limiting crude output to support prices.

U.S. crude traded at $57.97 a barrel after hitting the highest since July 31. Brent crude futures climbed to $62.67 a barrel.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, who became Saudi Arabia’s new energy minister on Sunday, told reporters there would be “no radical” change in Saudi’s oil policy. Saudi Arabia is OPEC’s de facto leader.

Reporting by Karin Strohecker in London, additional reporting and graphic by Sujata Rao in London, additional reporting by Stanley White in Tokyo; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Sam Holmes and Alex Richardson

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Asia shares hit six-month lows, bonds growth amid market shakeout

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares slid to 6-1/2-month lows on Monday and the yuan slumped to a greater than decade trough as a fast escalation within the Sino-U.S. commerce warfare despatched traders stampeding to conventional protected harbors together with the yen, bonds and gold.

FILE PHOTO: A girl walks previous an digital board exhibiting the inventory market indices of varied international locations exterior a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Markets have been badly spooked since U.S. President Donald Trump abruptly declared he would slap 10% tariffs on $300 billion in Chinese language imports, ending a month-long commerce truce. China vowed on Friday to battle again.

In response, China’s yuan CNH= CNY= burst past the psychological 7-per-dollar threshold in a transfer that threatened to unleash a brand new entrance within the commerce hostilities – a forex warfare.

“Every thing is promoting off proper now,” mentioned Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange technique at Nationwide Australia Financial institution in Sydney. “We have now no motive to anticipate any cessation in promoting except we see any robust motion to defend any CNY or CNH weak spot.”

“Our working assumption is that we’re unlikely to see any significant decision to the commerce dispute anytime quickly.”

Asian share markets have been a sea of crimson with Japan’s Nikkei .N225 shedding 2.4% to the bottom since early June. It was the sharpest each day drop since March.

Australian shares slipped about 1.4% to spend their fourth straight session within the crimson, and South Korea’s Kospi .KS11 tumbled 2.2% to hit its lowest since December 2016.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares exterior Japan sank 2.1% to depths not seen since late January.In China, the blue-chip index .CSI300 fell 0.8% whereas the troubled Hong Kong market .HSI hit a seven-month trough. The ache shortly unfold globally, with E-Mini futures for the S&P500 ESc1 and FTSE futures FFIc1 each down over 1%.

Oil costs have been additionally pulled down once more on demand worries, whereas gold climbed 0.65% to $1,450.41 an oz..

The grim temper adopted declines on Wall Road on Friday with MSCI’s gauge of world shares posting its largest weekly lack of the 12 months.

The commerce dispute between the world’s two largest economies has already disrupted international provide chains and slowed financial progress.

The abrupt escalation capped a essential week for international markets after the U.S. Federal Reserve delivered a broadly anticipated rate of interest minimize and performed down expectations of additional easing.

EVER DEEPER CUTS

Up to now, traders will not be shopping for Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s declare that the 25-basis-point price discount was a mere “mid-cycle adjustment to coverage”.

Futures at the moment are pricing in deeper cuts than earlier than final week’s Fed assembly. The terminal U.S. price is seen at 1.22%, 93 foundation factors beneath the present efficient price.

Analysts at TD Securities are forecasting a minimum of 5 extra cuts from the Fed, amounting to 125 foundation factors of easing, over the approaching 12 months or so.

Bond markets have been nicely forward of the sport as U.S. 10-year yields US10YT=RR dived 7 foundation factors to 1.77%, a violent shift for normally cautious Asian hours. Yields in Australia and New Zealand touched all-time lows.

German 10-year authorities bond yields on Friday dropped to an all-time low of -0.502% and the nation’s total authorities bond yield curve turning damaging for the primary time ever.

The flight to security lifted the yen, which frequently positive aspects at time of stress because of Japan’s place because the world’s largest creditor. The greenback slipped to a seven-month trough of 105.78 yen JPY=, whereas the euro sank to its lowest since April 2017 at 117.64 yen EURJPY=.

That dragged the greenback index .DXY off 0.1%, although it was up towards most different Asian currencies and people uncovered to China or commodities together with the Australian greenback AUD=.

The Aussie AUD=D3, a liquid proxy for rising market and China threat, slipped to a contemporary seven-month trough at $0.6748 after shedding 1.6% final week.

The Swiss franc CHF= was additionally boosted by safe-haven demand from the escalating commerce tensions. Trump can be eyeing tariffs on the European Union, however is but to make any formal bulletins. The euro EUR= was comparatively regular on the greenback at $1.1119.

Sterling GBP= hovered close to 2017 lows at $1.2159, pressured by considerations about Britain exiting the European Union and not using a deal in place.

The pound has been whiplashed since late final month when Boris Johnson, a figurehead for the “go away” marketing campaign within the 2016 Brexit referendum, turned the nation’s prime minister.

Oil prolonged losses with U.S crude off 26 cents at 55.40 and Brent down 35 cents at $61.54.

Modifying by Sam Holmes and Richard Borsuk

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Carmakers race higher, Johnson jitters for sterling

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LONDON (Reuters) – A speeding autos sector and hopes for even lower borrowing costs buoyed world stocks on Tuesday, while a brief sterling rally proved short-lived as hard-Brexit advocate Boris Johnson was confirmed as Britain’s new prime minister.

FILE PHOTO: The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, July 22, 2019. REUTERS/Staff/File Photo

Corporate results from oil bellwether Halliburton, Swiss bank UBS and Apple supplier AMS had all helped Europe’s morning mood though it was a 4% surge from the auto sector that provided the real torque. [.EU]

German parts makers Hella and French peer Faurecia surged as much as 6% and tire maker Continental leapt 5.8% despite another profit warning, putting the sector on track for its best day since Jan. [.EU]

The region-wide STOXX 600 benchmark added over 1% while Wall Street’s main markets were expected to open 0.3%-0.4% higher later after a flurry of largely upbeat earnings from the likes of Coca-Cola and United Technologies. [.N]

“The results are coming in and have helped the market today and we are still under the influence of interest rates,” said Francois Savary, the chief investment officer of Prime Partners, referring to expectations of U.S. and ECB rate cuts.

He also said Wall Street earnings had provided no scares so far and this week’s results from Facebook, Amazon.com and Google parent Alphabet would “drive the market up the road”.

Ahead of the U.S. open, the International Monetary Fund lowered its forecast for global growth this year and next, warning that more U.S.-China tariffs, auto tariffs or a disorderly Brexit could further slow the world economy.

Among currencies, the dollar reached a two-week high after U.S. President Donald Trump and congressional leaders agreed on Monday to a two-year extension of the U.S. debt limit, ending the threat a government default later this year. [/FRX]

The New Zealand dollar led G10 losses after its central bank said it had “begun scoping a project to refresh our unconventional monetary policy strategy and implementation”, although it added it was at a very early stage.

Britain’s pound was the other notable mover as it slid back towards the mid $1.24 region having briefly rallied after eurosceptic Johnson was elected as the replacement for outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May.

Concern that Britain will crash out of the European Union without a withdrawal agreement have grown since Johnson said he would pull Britain out on Oct. 31 “do or die”.

The pound traded 0.2% weaker at $1.2445, near last week’s 27-month low of $1.2382, having made it as high as $1.2481.

Credit ratings agency Moody’s and investment Goldman Sachs both warned the risk of a no-deal Brexit was now higher.

“With Boris Johnson at the helm, the tail risks are likely to intensify ─ well into October,” Goldman said.

“We raise our odds on a ‘no deal Brexit from 15% to 20%, and we reduce our odds on ‘no Brexit’ at all from 40% to 35%.”

The euro fell too to $1.1189, although rather than Brexit it was weighed down more by the likelihood of even more negative ECB interest rates in the coming months. The central bank meets on Thursday.

“It is going to take a bold stroke by the ECB to both satisfy markets clamoring for incremental easing and make a difference to the economy, all the while remaining inside its institutional setting and not destabilizing the financial system,” wrote Carl Weinberg, chief international economist at High Frequency Economics.

SUMMER HOT SPOTS

Europe’s government bonds barely budged, with investors largely happy to sit on their hands having seen their yields slumping since the start of the year.

U.S. yields did tick fractionally higher in response to the debt ceiling deal but Germany’s 10-year bond yield, the benchmark for the euro zone, was down a basis point, at minus 0.35% and not far from the record low -0.40% posted at the start of the month.

The next events to watch include a vote on Thursday in the Spanish parliament on the future government. Caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez failed in his first attempt on Tuesday to get parliament’s backing to form a government, leaving him two days to try and strike a deal with the far-left Unidas Podemos.

There was also a rumored meeting between the leaders of the two squabbling parties who make up Italy’s coalition government, 5-Star Movement’s Luigi Di Maio and League’s Matteo Salvini.

“Investors are waiting to see whether this government will survive,” said DZ Bank strategist Daniel Lenz. “One possibility is that the coalition continues but both agree to replace (Giuseppe) Conte as prime minister, which would be a very bad signal.”

Conte is widely seen as a moderating influence on the anti-establishment Italian government, particularly in terms of its relationship with Brussels.

FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

In commodities, Brent crude edged lower to reach $63 per barrel, having shot up 1.2% the day before on concern over possible supply disruptions after Iran seized a British tanker last week. [O/R]

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 23 cents to $55.99. “The response of oil prices to the seizure of a British oil tanker by armed Iranian forces near the Strait of Hormuz has been amazingly muted so far,” said Carsten Fritsch, analyst at Commerzbank.

“It appears that the majority of market participants are convinced that there will be no open conflict between the West and Iran.”

Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro in Tokyo, Alex Lawyer and Abhinav Ramnarayan in London, editing by Larry King and Frances Kerry

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HP, Dell, other tech firms plan to shift production out of China: Nikkei

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FILE PHOTO: The Hewlett-Packard (HP) logo is seen as part of a display at the Microsoft Ignite technology conference in Chicago, Illinois, May 4, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo

(Reuters) – Several technology companies, including HP Inc (HPQ.N), Dell Technologies (DELL.N) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), are planning to shift substantial production capacity out of China, Nikkei reported on Wednesday, citing sources.

HP and Dell are planning to reallocate up to 30% of their notebook production out of China, Nikkei said.

Microsoft, Google, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Sony Corp (6758.T) and Nintendo Co Ltd (7974.T) are also looking at moving some of their game console and smart speaker manufacturing out of the country, Nikkei added s.nikkei.com/2JjAMcM.

Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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HP, Dell, other tech firms plan to shift production out of China: Nikkei

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FILE PHOTO: The Hewlett-Packard (HP) logo is seen as part of a display at the Microsoft Ignite technology conference in Chicago, Illinois, May 4, 2015. REUTERS/Jim Young/File Photo

(Reuters) – Several technology companies, including HP Inc (HPQ.N), Dell Technologies (DELL.N) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O), are planning to shift substantial production capacity out of China, Nikkei reported on Wednesday, citing sources.

HP and Dell are planning to reallocate up to 30% of their notebook production out of China, Nikkei said.

Microsoft, Google, Amazon.com Inc (AMZN.O), Sony Corp (6758.T) and Nintendo Co Ltd (7974.T) are also looking at moving some of their game console and smart speaker manufacturing out of the country, Nikkei added s.nikkei.com/2JjAMcM.

Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman

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Trade hopes help world shares gain before U.S. jobs data

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LONDON (Reuters) – Cautious optimism over Sino-U.S. trade talks underpinned global stocks on Friday as benchmark bond yields ground higher and lifted the dollar to a three-week high against the yen ahead of U.S. job data.

FILE PHOTO – The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Staff

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday a trade deal with China might be announced within four weeks, although he warned that it would be difficult to allow trade to continue without an agreement. Chinese President Xi Jinping reportedly said progress was being made and called for an early conclusion of talks.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index nudged higher, heading for its best performance in three weeks, with markets in Paris and London adding 0.3 percent. German stocks were treading water, though the index was on track for its best week since December 2016.

MSCI’s All-Country World Index, which tracks shares in 47 countries, edged up and was on track for a second straight week of gains.

Better-than expected data out of Germany and receding fears of a disorderly departure from the European Union by the U.K. also helped perk up sentiment.

“The main overnight news, which is positive if not very substantial, is around the U.S.-China trade deal,” said Mizuho strategist Antoine Bouvet. “German industrial orders yesterday added to worries in the manufacturing sector, but industrial production today actually surprised to the upside.”

German industrial output rose by 0.7 percent in February as mild weather helped a surge in construction activity.

But manufacturing production dipped as Germany is suffering from trade friction and Brexit angst after narrowly avoiding recession last year. Leading economic institutes slashed their forecasts for 2019 growth on Thursday and warned a long-term upswing had come to an end.

The limelight is now shifting to the U.S. payrolls report, which is forecast to rebound to 180,000 in March, following February’s distorted 20,000 rise. In focus will be hourly earnings, which climbed to 3.4 percent in February, the fastest pace since April 2009.

Hopes for a solid number were boosted by data on jobless claims, which fell to a 49-year low last week, pointing to sustained labor market strength.

E-Mini futures pointed to gains for U.S. stocks on Friday, with S&P 500 edging up 0.2 percent.

“Share markets have run hard and fast from their December lows and are vulnerable to a short-term pullback,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy at AMP Capital.

“But valuations are okay, global growth is expected to improve into the second half of the year, monetary and fiscal policy has become more supportive of markets and the trade war threat is receding.”

On Thursday, the S&P 500 reached its highest level since Oct. 9 and is only 1.75 percent below its record closing high.

BUND YIELDS ABOVE ZERO

The cautiously optimistic mood weighed on safe-haven debt, with government bond yields in Europe and the United States rising. U.S. Treasury yields and German 10-year bond yields, the benchmark for the euro zone, climbed to a two-week high, the latter just above zero.

In currencies, the progress on trade was enough to keep the safe-haven yen under pressure and lift the dollar to a three-week high of 111.79.

However, against a basket of currencies, the dollar failed to make much progress on the day or on the week. The euro was flat at $1.1225 after dipping overnight.

Sterling lost its earlier gains as investors worried about more Brexit uncertainty.

British Prime Minister Theresa May wrote to European Council President Donald Tusk on Friday asking for a delay of Brexit until up to June 30, but said she aims to get Britain out of the EU earlier to avoid it participating in European elections.

FILE PHOTO: A man looks on in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China February 13, 2019. REUTERS/Stringer

Meanwhile, a senior European Union source said Donald Tusk was likely to offer Britain a flexible extension of the deadline for its exit from the EU of up to one year.

In commodity markets, spot gold dipped to $1,289.40 per ounce but held above a near 10-week low hit overnight.

Brent crude futures were off 33 cents at $69.07, pulling further away from the $70 a barrel they touched for the first time since November on Thursday, as expectations of tight global supply outweighed rising U.S. production. [O/R] U.S. crude priced at $61.93 a barrel.

Reporting by Karin Strohecker in London; additional reporting by Wayne Cole in Sydney and Abhinav Ramnarayan in London; editing by Larry King, William Maclean

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