Stocks on the march as 'Trump trades' bounce back

February 13, 2017 09:05 AM

World stocks and bond yields rose on Monday, lifted by a re-emergence of so-called "Trump trades" as investors bet that the U.S. president's tax reform plans will boost economic growth and corporate profits.

Following on from Friday's record high closes on the financial market , Asian stocks rallied to 1-1/2-year peaks and a broad measure of pan-European stocks hit its highest since late 2015.

The Japanese yen was the biggest underperformer among major currencies, as is typical when riskier assets such as stocks are doing well.

Investors were also comforted by the two-day U.S.-Japan summit held over the weekend apparently having ended smoothly without President Donald Trump talking tough on trade, currency or security issues.

"Trump-based reflation pricing remains the major driver in the U.S. stock markets, and thirsty investors are waiting for more details on Trump's corporate tax cut plans," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior market analyst at London Capital Group.

The STOXX 600, Europe's leading index of top 600 shares, rose 0.6 % to 369.51 points, the highest in over a year. Mining and basic resources sectors were among the leaders.

Germany's DAX was up 0.9 %, led by a 15 % rise in drugmaker Stada after the company said it had received two offers for the acquisition of the company, one of which is private equity group Cinven Partners LLP.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan gained 0.5 %, while Japan's Nikkei rose 0.4 %.

U.S. futures pointed to a higher open on the financial market . The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrials and Nasdaq Composite all posted record closing highs on Friday.

No fear
Comments from Trump on Thursday that he plans to announce what he said would be the most ambitious tax reform plan since the Reagan era in the next few weeks rekindled hopes for big tax cuts.

Economic data from major economies has also been upbeat, including Friday's Chinese trade figures, while U.S. corporate earnings have been also solid so far.

Kathleen Brooks, research director at City Index in London, noted that the VIX measure of U.S. stock market volatility closed last week below 11 for the third week in a row.

The last time this happened was over a decade ago.

"This is another sign that, for now, the Trump trade is still on. It also suggests that even with the controversy Trump has caused since he took office, financial markets are still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt," Brooks said.

In the weekend meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Trump held off from repeating harsh rhetoric that accused Japan of taking advantage of U.S. security aid, stealing American jobs and "playing money markets". Nor were currency issues discussed.

Those apparently cordial discussions drove the dollar as much as 0.9 % higher against the yen to 114.17 yen. It last stood at 113.65 yen, up 0.4 % on the day and extending its rebound from a 10-week low of 111.59 yen touched last week.

Figures on Monday showed that Japan's economy grew for a fourth straight quarter in the final three months of last year as a weaker yen supported exports, but doubts over the sustainability of the recovery persisted.

The euro's rise of 0.5 % against the yen to 121.00 yen, helped steady the European currency against the dollar. The euro was last unchanged on the day at $1.0640, inching further away from Friday's three-week low of $1.0608.

The euro has been dogged by fears about a strong showing for French far-right leader Marine Le Pen ahead of a presidential election.

Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields rose 3 basis points to 2.44 %.

In commodities, copper hit its highest levels since May 2015 after shipments were shut off from the world's two biggest copper mines - due to a strike in Chile and an export's ban by Indonesia.

It last traded at $6,126 per tonne, up 0.6 % on the day. On Friday it jumped more than 4 %, its biggest one-day rise in almost four years.

Oil prices dipped slightly after strong gains on Friday on reports that OPEC members delivered more than 90 % of the output cuts they pledged in a landmark deal that took effect in January.

International benchmark Brent crude futures fell 0.4 % to $56.45 per barrel.

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