Asian shares jump to record high as investors bet on healthier 2021

Asian shares hit a record high on Wednesday with investors betting on a strong economic recovery next year, as there is little sign policymakers wind back massive stimulus efforts aimed at staving off coronavirus-fuelled downturns.

Asian Shares

  • MSCI’s gauge of Asia-Pacific shares excluding Japan rose 1.2% to hit a record high, led by gains in Chinese shares and bringing its gains so far this year to 18.9%.
  • Japan’s Nikkei share average lost 0.45% on its last trading day of 2020 after jumping to a 30-year high on Tuesday. For the year, it was up 16.0%.
  • European shares are seen dipping slightly with Euro Stoxx 50 futures down 0.2% and FTSE futures losing 0.1%.

Currency

  • In the currency market, the dollar dropped on the first day of trading for settlement in 2021 as traders started to dump the safe-haven U.S. currency anew.
  • The euro rose 0.3% to $1.2295, a level last seen in April 2018.
  • The Australian dollar rose 0.6% to $0.7663, hitting a 2 1/2-year high, while sterling traded up 0.30% at $1.3556.

  • The Japanese yen also gained 0.15% to 103.36 per dollar.
  • The U.S. dollar index losing 0.25% to stand at 89.798, having hit a 2 1/2-year low of 89.711 at one point.

Oil Prices

  • Oil prices extended gains after a rebound overnight as investors hoped that an expanded U.S. pandemic aid stimulus would spur fuel demand and stoke economic growth.
  • U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 0.21% at $48.10 a barrel