By Michael McCarthy (chief market strategist, CMC Markets and Stockbroking)
Asia Pacific markets are facing a positive open after European and US investors wrestled with conflicting signals on the Covid-19 outbreaks. On balance, overnight markets reflected a small win for growth positive assets. Bonds sold off after the minutes from the latest Federal Reserve meeting failed to mention special measures anticipated by traders.
Concern about rising viral infection rates, particularly in southern US states, were offset by positive developments in a trial vaccine. The preliminary results showed little ill effect, while producing antibodies in the 45 trial participants. The Nasdaq index set another record high, but the narrowly based US 30 index fell.
The commentary from the Fed’s latest meeting was very cautious, and policy makers committed to maintain current settings “for some time” due to fears of “permanent damage”. However yield curves steepened as there was no discussion of Yield Curve Control, a Bank of Japan policy that some thought the Fed would emulate.
The Norwegian Kroner led currency markets with a gain of around 1% as crude oil prices rose. The safer haven US dollar and Swiss franc drifted lower, but the Japanese yen rose. The broadly positive moves saw most commodity currencies lift. A better than expected read on US manufacturing added buoyancy.
Trading today could see continuation of the lower volume environment ahead of important US jobs data tonight. Analysts’ forecasts centre on an increase in non-farm payrolls of more than 3 million, and a decrease in ongoing claims to 19 million. A miss of any significance could have a higher market impact.