World stocks have surged higher, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 index closing at its highest level in more than 30 years after President Donald Trump signed a $900 billion economic aid package
Wall Street set fresh records on Monday after Trump opted not to veto the bill, helping to staunch uncertainty as governments reimpose pandemic-fighting travel and business curbs weighing on global economic activity.
The hope is that the measures will help tide the economy over until vaccinations can bring surging infections under control, allowing precautions to be relaxed and life to begin returning to normal.
Wall Street futures looked set for further gains, with the contract for the S&P 500 up 0.5% while the future for the Dow industrials added 0.4%.
Germany’s DAX picked up 0.4% to 13,848.41 and the CAC 40 in France climbed 0.4% to 5,608.02. Britain’s FTSE 100 jumped 2.1% to 6,642.12.
Trading is thinning as tumultuous 2020 draws to a close. But after nosediving in March as the pandemic took hold, share prices have more than recovered, helped by massive infusions of central bank cash and ultra-low interest rates, which make shares potentially more lucrative than other investments.
Investors have gained confidence with the rollouts of coronavirus vaccinations they hope will pave the way for a return to normal activity in coming months.
“It has been a mostly positive day for Asian markets, taking their cue from Wall Street,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “The buy everything recovery trade was back in evidence in Asia, with the US dollar easing, and precious metals and energy rallying.”
In Tokyo, the Nikkei 225 jumped 2.7% to 27,568.15, the first time it has traded above 27,000 since August 1990, according to FactSet. The market hit its all-time peak close of 38,915.87 on Dec. 29, 1989.
The benchmark was buoyed by strong gains in heavyweights like Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, which surged 4.6%, apparel maker Fast Retailing, also up 4.6%, and technology and energy company SoftBank, which gained 4.2%.
Other Asian shares were also mostly higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.9% to 26,568.49. In South Korea, the Kospi edged 0.4% higher to 2,820.50. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 climbed 0.5% to 6,700.30.
The Shanghai Composite index fell 0.5% to 3,386.57. Sentiment has been darkened by tightening U.S. rules against investments in companies linked to the Chinese military. Regulatory changes focused on e-commerce giant Alibaba and its financial affiliate Ant Group are also cause for uncertainty.
In U.S. trading Monday, the S&P 500 climbed 0.9% to 3,735.36, as investors welcomed Trump’s decision to sign the coronavirus aid package despite his complaints that $600 payments for most individuals were too low. The legislation also averted a federal government shutdown that otherwise would have begun Tuesday.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7% to 30,403.97, a record high. The Nasdaq composite climbed 0.7% to 12,899.42, also a record high. The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 0.4% to 1,996.25.
The U.S. economy continues to deteriorate under widespread coronavirus outbreaks, infections and hospitalizations, so the promise of more relief for millions of Americans helps reduce uncertainty amid the re-imposition of travel and business curbs in response to a new coronavirus variant that is thought to be more contagious.
Trading is expected to be light this week, as most fund managers and investors have closed their books for the year. It will be another holiday-shortened week, with New Year’s Day on Friday.
In other trading, the 10-year Treasury yield, which can affect interest rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, rose to 0.94% from 0.92% late Monday.
Benchmark U.S. crude oil gained 55 cents to $48.17 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It lost 61 cents to $47.62 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, picked up 59 cents to $51.49 per barrel.
The dollar was trading at 103.62 Japanese yen, down from 103.81 yen late Monday. The euro rose to $1.2256 from $1.2214.