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GLOBAL MARKETS-Summer mood swings: markets turn higher on hopes of virus aid

Mon, 3rd Aug 2020 13:05

* European shares rise 1.2% as tech, auto stocks rally

* US stock futures up 0.5% on stimulus hopes

* Asia ex-Japan dips, Nikkei aided by yen pullback

* Caixin China PMI beats forecasts at 52.8

* Gold reaches new peak, eyeing $2,000 level

By Thyagaraju Adinarayan

LONDON, Aug 3 (Reuters) - World stocks and the dollar
rallied after a cautious European morning as thin summer trading
led to sharp swings in the market, and worries about U.S.
gridlock over the next round of coronavirus aid eased.

In Europe, stocks were up 1.2% as technology stocks
rallied on positive read-across from peers on the other side of
the Atlantic, offsetting a selloff in big banks' shares after
results.

Index heavyweight HSBC fell 5% after it warned that
its bad debt charges could surge to as much as $13 billion.

U.S. stock futures were up 0.5% with jittery
investors cautiously adding positions, expecting progress on the
stimulus package and on hopes of a COVID-19 treatment - as Eli
Lilly started a late-stage study of a drug to see
whether it can contain the virus in nursing homes.

"Three months to go until the U.S. Presidential election!
Surely Congress will want to get something over the line
regarding new stimulus in the U.S. driven more by politics than
necessarily economics," said Chris Bailey, European strategist
at Raymond James.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 were under pressure
during Asia hours and came back strongly ahead of the U.S. open.

"Thin markets can blow both ways quite easily," Bailey
added.

On Friday, Fitch Ratings cut the outlook on the United
States' triple-A credit rating to negative from stable and said
the direction of fiscal policy depends in part on the November
election and the resulting makeup of Congress, cautioning that
policy gridlock could continue.

Those concerns have hardly hit the U.S. technology sector,
evident in Friday's record highs, with Apple overtaking
Saudi Aramco to become the world's most valuable
company.

Spanish stocks, meanwhile, were flat, underperforming rest
of Europe as the country saw the biggest jump in coronavirus
cases since a national lockdown was lifted in June, while data
showed international tourist arrivals to the country fell 98% in
June.

"Second wave virus concerns are building in Australia,
Europe etc. but no huge risk-aversion move," said Bailey.

The euro and the pound were down with the dollar at $1.1728
per euro and $1.3020 per pound. Both the currencies
recorded their best monthly gain in nearly a decade in July.

Dollar bears also took some profits on crowded short
positions, but further gains were likely to be capped by the
slowing U.S. economic recovery from COVID-19 and real rates
breaking below -1% for the first time.

The real rate hit a record low amid a marked flattening of
the yield curve as investors wager on more accommodation from
the Federal Reserve.

"Amid improvements in business sentiment, signals are
emerging that the initial boost from pent-up demand is fading
and consumer confidence is slipping lower," economists at
Barclays wrote in a note.

"Together with concerns about labour market and virus
developments, this clouds the outlook and could be exacerbated
if U.S. fiscal support is not renewed in time."

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were higher
at 0.54% after touching the lowest level since March last week.
German government bond yields rose slightly to -0.527%.

Factory activity data from China showed the fastest pace of
expansion in nearly a decade. That helped China's blue chips
rally 1.6%, offsetting worries about U.S.-China
relations.

Japan's Nikkei meanwhile added 2.2%, courtesy of a
pullback in the yen. The dollar steadied on the yen at 105.95
after hitting a 4-1/2-month low last week at 104.17.

The recent decline in the dollar combined with super-low
real bond yields has been a boon for gold, which hit $1,984 an
ounce early on Monday and seemed on track to take out
$2,000 soon.

Oil prices eased on concerns about oversupply as OPEC and
its allies are due to pull back from production cuts in August
while an increase in COVID-19 cases raised fears of slower
pick-up in fuel demand.

Brent crude futures dipped 14 cents to $43.38 a
barrel, while U.S. crude eased 17 cents to $40.01.

(Reporting by Thyagaraju Adinarayan, additional reporting by
Sujata Rao in London, Wayne Cole in Sydney and Julie Zhu in Hong
Kong; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Susan Fenton)

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