Ukraine talks spark equity stampede
The first sign of good news, no matter how tenuous, from the Ukraine-Russia talks resulted in a mass stampede into equities with the FOMO gnomes pricing in “peak-Ukraine.” European markets soared and the rally continued into New York, where excellent data and lower US yields boosted sentiment. The S&P 500 closed 1.23% higher, the Nasdaq jumped by 1.84%, and the Dow Jones finished 0.97% higher. Some short-term long covering sees futures on all three indexes eased around 0.20% in Asia.
Asian markets, as desperate for any good news from the Eastern front as anyone else, have reacted by rallying strongly today. The exception is Japan where the Nikkei 225 has slumped by 1.27%. Part of the reason could be the yen rally overnight, but I believe that financial year-end flows ahead of tomorrow are distorting trading in Tokyo today.
Elsewhere, the news is positive. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite has jumped 1.50% higher, while the CSI 300 has soared by 2.15%. Hong Kong has rallied by 1.50%. South Korea’s Kospi has posted a much more sedate gain of 0.25%, perhaps with one eye on Tokyo and heavyweight local data due tomorrow.
Singapore is unchanged, pausing for breath after a few days of gains as domestic virus curbs were relaxed. Kuala Lumpur is 0.25% higher, with Jakarta climbing 0.35%, while Taipei has leapt 1.20% higher. Bangkok has gained 0.65% with Manila rising 0.20%. There is a defiant North Asia heavyweight/ ASEAN split today, perhaps reflective of improved risk sentiment internationally. With that in mind, India’s Sensex has also posted a healthy 1.0% gain in early trading.
European markets posted a banner day of gains yesterday on Ukraine hopes. A dig into the fine print, and a closer look at the reality of the Russian comments, may temper that enthusiasm this afternoon.
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