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Global shares extend gains on US coronavirus stimulus package hopes

Stocks around the world looked to rally as talks in the US progressed on another stimulus package to boost the American economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stocks around the world looked to rally as talks in the US progressed on another stimulus package to boost the American economy amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Global shares tried to extend gains on Thursday on renewed hopes for fresh US stimulus measures, but mounting uncertainty ahead of America's presidential election and technical glitches in Japan's market kept gains in check.

S&P500 futures rose 0.4% in Asia, extending Wall Street shares' rebound overnight after strong employment data and talk of progress on long-delayed Covid-19 relief legislation.

European stocks were seen steady to firmer, with pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 futures up 0.09%, German DAX futures almost flat and Britain's FTSE futures adding 0.24%.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.5%, with Australian shares rising 1.1% and Indian shares adding 1.5%.

TSE suspends trading over tech glitches

But regional trade was thinned by problems at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) and holidays in Greater China and South Korea.

The TSE suspended share trading for the full day as a glitch in its electronic trading system caused the worst outage ever suffered by the world's third-largest stock market. It is not clear when trading will resume.

Tokyo Stock Exchange
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Tokyo Stock Exchange

Smaller, regional bourses in Nagoya, Fukuoka and Sapporo were also forced to suspend trade because they also use the TSE's system.

But derivatives trading in Osaka was unaffected, with Nikkei futures rising 0.2%.

On Wednesday, the S&P500 gained 0.83% and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.74%, even though they wrapped up September with their first monthly declines since March, when mandated coronavirus shutdowns slammed the economy.

A spate of economic data mostly surprised to the upside, with the ADP National Employment index blowing past analysts' expectations and pending home sales surging to an all-time high.

"The US data is surprisingly strong, so that underpins the market. But I don't expect a clear-cut trend in markets until we see the outcome of the US election," said Hirokazu Kabeya, chief global strategist at Daiwa Securities.

Breakthrough in stimulus package talks

Also helping to boost risk appetite, U.S. House of Representative Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin both expressed hope for a breakthrough in partisan stimulus negotiations.

Hopes about coronavirus vaccine developments also underpinned market sentiment, helping to counter concerns about rising Covid-19 infections in Europe, said Tomo Kinoshita, global market strategist at Invesco Asset Management.

But many market participants remained cautious after Tuesday's chaotic presidential debate, which heightened fears that a disputed ballot on Nov. 3 could lead to a long and messy transfer of power.

President Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Joe Biden talked over each other and traded insults as they sparred over the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare and the economy.

"Global investors may be pulling back from the US as the election approaches and the political dysfunction in Washington is laid bare," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer with Independent Advisor Alliance in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"But they also need to take into consideration that a weaker U.S. economy could presage a weaker global economy, which may drive investors to safe-haven assets" later in 2020, he added.

Currencies and commodities

In the currency market, the robust U.S. data and stimulus hopes helped to push down the U.S. dollar against riskier currencies.

The euro rose 0.2% to $1.1745 while the Australian dollar ticked up 0.2% to $0.7181.

The offshore Chinese yuan gained 0.5% to 6.7493 per dollar in thin liquidity due to the holiday in mainland China and Hong Kong, while the yen was little moved at 105.50 to the dollar.

In commodities, oil prices were flat, with U.S. crude futures at $40.21 per barrel and Brent futures at $42.33 a barrel.


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