January 5, 2018
Meltup groundhog day continues as global equity markets begin 2018 with another day of record highs and with their best week in more than a year, extending last year’s rally that has seen volatility plunge and risk appetite surge.
The new year’s ramp to new record highs in stock markets around the world continued for a fourth day on Friday when U.S. equity index futures, European and Asian shares all rose, as did the dollar while oil dropped ahead of the US payrolls report. MSCI’s gauge of world stocks was up 0.15%, above 524 points and at a fresh record high.
European markets opened firmer after Asian shares approached record levels. The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.5%, holding at a two-month high, and the first trading week of the new year looks set to be the best for Euro zone stocks since May, as shares shrug off a stronger single currency that could dampen export earnings. Automakers and healthcare stocks outperformed.
Europe’s surge followed more upside in Asia, where stock indexes in Japan, South Korea and China all rose after U.S. shares surged to fresh records Thursday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.5%, rising for a fourth day to cap its best week since July 2017. Equity benchmarks in the region rose except those in Singapore and Vietnam. The benchmark Topix index is poised for a two-day advance of more than 3%. Materials and healthcare sub-gauges of Asia’s regional index led the gains, rising more than 0.7% each. Australia’s ASX 200 (+0.7%) continued to make fresh 10yr highs with the index finding support from financial and mining stocks. Nikkei 225 (+0.9%) had its best two day gain since November and probed 26yr highs amid the rise in banking stocks, while Chinese markets also posted gains (Shanghai Comp +0.2%, Hang Seng Index +0.3%). Emerging-market equities reached the highest since 2011.
European bonds were mixed and…