Asia stocks set to gain after recovery hopes push Wall Street higher

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian stocks were set to climb on Tuesday as confidence in an economic recovery pushed the Nasdaq benchmark to a record high, although doubts about crude supply cuts were likely to keep oil prices under pressure.

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, walks in front of a stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, May 18, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

Markets have been encouraged by a May U.S. jobs report last week that showed a surprise fall in the unemployment rate, bolstering views that the worst of the downturn is over and that the economy was moving towards a quick rebound.

“The jobs report blew away expectations and the numbers were unparalleled in history,” said Thomas Hayes, chairman of Great Hill Capital in New York. “We’re starting to see in the market the magnitude and speed of U.S. government intervention and the market is now looking through the short-term negative numbers from GDP towards a much stronger recovery.”

Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures were up 0.67% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures rose 0.52%. However, Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures were down 0.04%.​

The Nasdaq hit a record high close on Monday, becoming the first of Wall Street’s three main indexes to bounce back from the market crash caused by the pandemic.

Financial, automotive and retail-oriented and energy shares – the stocks most beaten-down since the pandemic slammed markets – have been leading equity indices higher recently.

U.S. stocks also added to gains late in the trading session after the Federal Reserve eased the terms of its “Main Street” lending program to encourage more businesses and banks to participate.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.7%, the S&P 500 gained 1.20% and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.13%.

Oil prices fell after Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman said on Monday that the kingdom and Gulf allies Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates would not cut an extra 1.18 million bpd in July as they are doing this month.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and others had on Saturday agreed to sustain cuts equal to about 10% of global oil supply.

U.S. benchmark crude fell $1.36 a barrel to settle at $38.19 a barrel, while Brent settled down $1.50 at $40.80 a barrel.

In currency market, the dollar slid and commodity currencies gained as risk appetite ramped up. The New Zealand dollar rose to its highest in nearly four months after the government said it had stopped local transmission of the coronavirus.

The dollar index fell 0.053%, with the euro up 0.02% to $1.1294.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.01% versus the greenback at 108.44 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2733, up 0.09% on the day.

Yields on top-rated German government bonds dipped but remained near more than two-month highs hit last week on the back of improving sentiment in world markets.

U.S. Treasury yields also fell, with the 10-year note down 2.8 basis points at 0.8785%. Gold rose after a steep decline, boosted by hopes of a dovish monetary policy outlook from the Federal Reserve after the U.S. central bank ends a two-day meeting on Wednesday.

Investors are now seeking clarity from Fed Chair Jerome Powell on monetary and fiscal policies.

U.S. gold futures settled up 1.3% at $1,705.1 an ounce.

Reporting by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Sam Holmes

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