April 02, 2021: Tokyo's Nikkei led a rally in holiday-thinned trade in Asia on Friday following a record-breaking day on Wall Street with investors buoyed by Joe Biden's huge new infrastructure spending plan and growing optimism over the economic recovery.
With most equity and commodity markets in the region closed for Easter, business was light but the mood remained decidedly upbeat ahead of the release of key US jobs data that is expected to confirm that the world's top economy is getting back on its feet.
Confidence that global growth will soar as vaccines allow economies to open has for now overtaken worries that the rebound will fan inflation and force central banks to wind back their market-boosting monetary policies.
“Before you worry about inflation, there's reflation and I think that's the main theme in the market,” Ed Campbell, at QMA, said.
Biden's $2.25 trillion rebuilding package — coming soon after the passage of his $1.9 trillion stimulus — has reinforced the view among investors that the US economy will run hot, with analysts saying its corporate tax implications were also being put aside for now.
With this in mind, and after a strong read on US March manufacturing, the S&P 500 broke the 4,000-point barrier for the first time, while the Nasdaq and Dow also enjoyed healthy gains.
And the few markets in Asia that were open followed suit, with Tokyo up more than one percent, Seoul almost one percent higher and Shanghai also in positive territory along with Bangkok.
“The US equity market opened in the second quarter with a sonic boom ushering in a great Good Friday,” said Axi strategist Stephen Innes.
He added that equities likely had further to run higher as vaccines are administered around the world, and despite a pick-up in infections in parts of the world including France, which is facing another lockdown.
“Vaccine rollouts remain the game's name and drive the narrative, even with the EU lagging, as investors view this delay in the context that the catch-up is but a function of time,” he said.
Eyes are now on the release later Friday of US non-farm payrolls figures, which will give the latest view on the state of the huge economy, with some observers suggesting the reading could come in above one million.
– Key figures around 0230 GMT –
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.1 percent at 29,720.62 (break)
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.2 percent at 3,471.68
Hong Kong – Closed for a holiday
Dollar/yen: UP at 110.63 yen from 110.61 yen at 2100 GMT
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1770 from $1.1774
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3835 from $1.3831
Euro/pound: DOWN at 85.03 pence from 85.11 pence
New York – Dow: UP 0.5 percent at 33,153.21 (close)
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.4 percent at 6,737.30 (close)