Dollar, equities gain on upbeat manufacturing data


03 Aug, 2020 9:31 pm

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar rallied and equity markets rose on Monday as investors welcomed upbeat manufacturing data from around the world and as Microsoft’s pursuit of TikTok’s US operations bolstered the red-hot technology sector.

Gold prices retreated from a record high after some profit-taking and the dollar’s strengthening, though concerns about the coronavirus’ toll on the economy limited bullion’s losses.

Oil prices rose as manufacturing data from the United States, Europe and China offset oversupply fears fueled by the prospect of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies winding back output cuts.

MSCI’s benchmark for global equity markets .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.73% to 555.9. Europe’s broad FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 added 2.18% to 1,415.15, lifted by a reading of IHS Markit’s final Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index for the euro zone.

The index bounced to 51.8 in July, its first time above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction since January 2019.

Manufacturing activity in China expanded at the fastest pace in nearly a decade as domestic demand improved, China’s Caixin/Markit PMI showed, suggesting the world’s second-largest economy would help cushion the pandemic’s blow to world growth.

“There’s good feelings in the stock market. You’re seeing that with earnings and you’re seeing that with some of the PMI numbers,” said Rick Meckler, partner at Cherry Lane Investments in New Vernon, New Jersey. “People were really expecting the worse. Things are bad, but not as bad as predicted.”

Wall Street’s advance was driven by Microsoft (MSFT.O), whose shares rose 4.1% after it formally declared interest in TikTok’s U.S. operations on Sunday, Meckler said.

“Investors are going with what what’s worked for them and they’ve decided technology has survived what they see as the worst of the pandemic,” he said.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 0.93%, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 0.76% and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 1.31%.

Of the S&P’s 11 major sectors, technology .SPLRCT was the clear leader with a gain of more than 2.2%, also fueled by Apple’s (AAPL.O) overtaking of Saudi Aramco (2222.SE) on Friday to become the world’s most valuable company.

The dollar gained against a basket of currencies as investors unwound some recent short positions after the currency posted its weakest monthly performance in a decade in July.

Speculators’ net shorts on the U.S. dollar have soared to their highest since August 2011 at $24.27 billion, Reuters calculations and U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show.

The dollar index =USD rose 0.324%, with the euro EUR= down 0.29% to $1.174. The Japanese yen weakened 0.24% versus the greenback at 106.14 per dollar.

Oil prices rose.

Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose $0.77 to $44.29 a barrel. U.S. crude futures CLc1 gained $0.91, to $41.18 a barrel.

Dollar bears also took some profits on crowded short positions, but further gains were likely to be capped by the slowing U.S. economic recovery and real rates breaking below -1% for the first time.

The real rate hit a record low amid a marked flattening of the yield curve as investors wager on more accommodation from the Federal Reserve.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields US10YT=TWEB rose 2.2 basis points to 0.5576% after touching the lowest level since March last week.

German government bond yields rose slightly to -0.525%.

China’s manufacturing data helped blue chips .CSI300 rally 1.6%, offsetting worries about U.S.-China relations.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225 added 2.2%, courtesy of a pullback in the yen.




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