Malta Independent

European markets try to rebound

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On Monday European stocks opened on a positive note while U.S. futures also traded in the black in a tentative bounce from last week when the increase of the COVID-19 Omicron variant and probabilit­ies of tighter U.S. monetary policy shook global markets.

Positivity in Europe defeated a tough session in Asia where the MSCI index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell by almost 1%. China’s central bank said it would reduce the amount of cash banks must hold as reserves in an effort to restore economic growth while the region has seen a series of corporate setbacks after ridehailin­g giant Didi decided to withdraw from its New York listing last week.

Shares in China’s Evergrande tumbled 20% after the developer said there was no guarantee it would have enough funds to meet debt repayments.

Another giant, Alibaba shed more than 5% after declaring it would restructur­e its e-commerce businesses while U.S. regulatory opposition to the sale of Softbank-owned chip firm Arm pushed the Japanese firm 8% lower.

The mood was more optimistic moving West with the pan-European STOXX 600 up 0.7% and S&P 500 futures gaining 0.5%.

November’s mixed U.S. jobs report did little to upset market expectatio­ns of more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve.

As uncertaint­y runs high over the human and economic cost estimated from the Omicron variant, investors are focusing on increasing U.S. inflation which could stop the Fed from coming to the rescue should market mayhem re-emerge.

Bitcoin fell 2.8% and was last at $48,060. It reached a low of $41,967 over the weekend as profit-taking and macro-economic concerns triggered almost $1 billion worth of selling across cryptocurr­encies.

Oil prices gained more than $1 a barrel after top exporter Saudi Arabia increased prices for its crude sold to Asia and the United States, and as indirect U.S.-Iran talks on renewing a nuclear deal appeared to hit an impasse.

Brent gained $1.74 to $71.61 a barrel, while U.S. crude increased by $1.85 to $68.11 per barrel.

Gold prices moved 0.15% lower, pressured by the resilient dollar.

This article was compiled by BOV Asset Management Limited, a member of the BOV Group. BOV Asset Management,TG Complex, Suite 2, Level 3, Brewery Str., Mriehel BKR 3000. Email: infoassetm­anagement@bov.com Internet address: www.bovassetma­nagement.com. BOV Asset Management is licensed by the MFSA.

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