Asian stocks were poised for their biggest weekly rise in more than eight years on Friday while the euro hovered near a 1-1/2 month high as Europe’s central bank surprised with more stimulus, fuelling hopes for a global rebound.
The equities rally prompted investors to take winnings before Friday’s non-farm payrolls data, which is expected to show further deterioration in the US jobs market.
As a result, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan slipped 0.2 per cent from a 12-week top with China’s blue-chip index off 0.2 per cent.
The MSCI ex-Japan index is up about 6.5 per cent so far this week. If gains are sustained it would be its best weekly showing since late 2011.
Emerging market equities have also boasted solid gains this week with Philippines the star performer, having risen about 1,000 points, or 11.6 per cent, a sign money was moving into riskier assets.
Australia’s benchmark index was down 0.3 per cent but still near its highest since mid-March while Japan’s Nikkei fell 0.36 per cent.
E-mini futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.15 per cent.
Overnight, the S&P 500 eased 0.34 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.69 per cent. The Dow bucked the trend and ended a shade higher.
Investors were a tad cautious at these heady levels with valuations at their highest since the dot.com boom in 2000, according to Matthew Sherwood, investment strategist for Perpetual.
Technical chart indicators suggest the market is at “over-bought” levels, Sherwood added, a signal that a correction is due.
World equity markets were thrashed in March when they hit “bear territory” on fears the COVID-19 driven lockdowns would push the global economy into a long and deep recession.
Market sentiment has since been bolstered by powerful central bank stimulus.
Investor attention is now focused on Friday’s US employment report, which is expected to show nonfarm payrolls fell in May by eight million jobs after a record 20.54 million plunge in April.
The US unemployment rate is forecast to rocket to 19.8 per cent, a post-World War Two record, from 14.7 per cent in April.
Currency markets show continued confidence in the expected revival of the global economy.
The euro was last at $US1.1329 after hitting a 12-week high of $US1.1361 on Thursday after the European Central Bank increased the size of its bond purchases by a larger-than-expected 600 billion euros.
The common currency is up 2 per cent this week, on track for its third consecutive weekly gain.
All eyes will next be on the US Federal Reserve, which holds its regular two-day policy meeting next week.
The US dollar was last flat against the Japanese yen at 109.09, having risen 1.2 per cent so far this week.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies, is poised for its third straight weekly loss.
The risk-sensitive Australian dollar hovered near a five-month peak at $US0.6941 and was on track for its third straight weekly rise.
In commodities, US crude slipped 28 cents to $US37.13 per barrel and Brent eased 20 cents to $US39.79.
Spot gold was flat at $US1,711 an ounce.