Asian shares advance as vaccine, recovery hopes triumph soft U.S. data

Asian shares advanced on Thursday as markets’ euphoric mood over COVID-19 vaccines and the prospects of more political predictability and economic stimulus under the incoming Biden administration overrode a slate of weak U.S. economic data.

Asian shares

  • MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3% while Japan’s Nikkei gained 0.6%.
  • U.S. S&P 500 future rose 0.2% in Thursday’s Asian trade while Nasdaq futures rallied 0.4%.

Commodities

  • In commodities, oil prices rose for a fifth day as a surprise drop in U.S. crude inventories added to the positive mood stemming from hopes of demand recovery.
  • U.S. crude rose 0.77% to $46.06 per barrel and Brent gained 0.88% to $49.04

Currency Markets

  • In the currency market, the U.S. dollar stayed under pressure as riskier currencies benefited from the increased optimism.
  • The dollar’s index against a basket of major currencies dipped 0.07% to 91.919, hitting its lowest levels in almost three months.
  • The euro held firm at $1.1925 while sterling also stood near three-month high at $1.3391.
  • The yen was little moved at 104.28 yen to the dollar.