U.S. Stock Futures Tick Up, Dollar Extends Decline: Markets Wrap

U.S. equity futures rose Wednesday, buoyed by earnings and hopes for more stimulus, while Asian stocks were mixed. The dollar extended its retreat.

Chinese firms trading in Hong Kong saw the bulk of gains, and the Hang Seng Index approached the 30,000 level, but stocks slipped in Japan. Nasdaq 100 futures outperformed, with Netflix Inc. surging in after-hours trading as it added more customers than expected. European contracts edged higher.

Investors in Asia weighed comments suggesting a tough line from Joe Biden’s incoming administration toward China. Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. surged after billionaire Jack Ma resurfaced from months out of public view amid escalating scrutiny over his internet empire.

Treasuries were steady, with the yield on 10-year notes trading around 1.09%. Crude oil and gold advanced.

Investors are showing signs of returning to the reflation trade, betting that the incoming U.S. administration will use its legislative firepower to propel economic growth. Still, Janet Yellen encountered early Republican resistance to Biden’s $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief plan in her confirmation hearing to become Treasury secretary.

Yellen — who could be confirmed as soon as Thursday — said that help for the unemployed and small businesses would provide the “biggest bang for the buck.” She urged lawmakers to “act big” in efforts to rescue an economy battered by the coronavirus. She also said the U.S. is prepared to take on China’s “abusive” trade and economic practices, and that the Biden administration won’t pursue a weak dollar.

“Yellen is a positive,” said Mohit Kumar, strategist at Jefferies International. “We should have greater co-operation between the Fed and the Treasury, with both the monetary and fiscal policy working together and supportive. This is a good backdrop for risk sentiment.”

Donald Trump is in the final hours of his term, with Biden to be sworn in at noon Wednesday in Washington. On the virus front, Germany suffered record daily deaths and authorities in Beijing sealed off part of the city to guard against a flareup of cases in northern China.

These are some key events coming up in the week ahead:

  • Earnings come from companies including Morgan Stanley, Procter & Gamble and Intel.
  • Joe Biden takes office as U.S. president on Wednesday.
  • Policy decisions are due Wednesday from central banks in Brazil, Malaysia and Canada. The Bank of Japan and the ECB deliver decisions Thursday.

Here are the main moves in markets:


  • S&P 500 Index futures rose 0.2% as of 6:42 a.m. in London. The gauge jumped 0.8% on Tuesday.
  • Japan’s Topix index dipped 0.3%.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.8%.
  • Shanghai Composite added 0.4%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index advanced 0.4%.
  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures climbed 0.1%.


  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined 0.3%.
  • The euro bought $1.2154, up 0.2%.
  • The offshore yuan rose 0.3% to 6.4638 per dollar.
  • The yen traded at 103.74 per dollar, up 0.2%.


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at about 1.09%.
  • Australia’s 10-year yield was at 1.09%.


  • West Texas Intermediate crude advanced 0.8% to $53.41 a barrel.
  • Gold rose 0.7% to $1,853.50 an ounce.

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