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Stock Futures Rise and Dollar Weakens in Sparse Trading: Markets Overview

by Jennifer

In a mixed session across Asian markets, stock futures have seen an upward trend, while the dollar weakens amidst thin trading. Key markets, including Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia, are closed, contributing to subdued trading volumes. Emerging Asian currencies, particularly South Korea’s won and Taiwan dollar, are advancing against a depreciating dollar, which has hit its lowest level in almost five months.

“Santa Claus Rally” and Wall Street Dynamics

Wall Street is witnessing positioning for potential stock gains in what marks the commencement of the “Santa Claus rally” — a seasonal tendency where equities often climb into the first days of the new year. The S&P 500 recently concluded an eight-week winning streak, the longest in over five years, fueled by signs of easing price pressures in the U.S. Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields have slipped by two basis points to 3.88%.

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Vishnu Varathan, Head of Economics and Strategy at Mizuho Bank, notes, “As for emerging markets in Asia, ‘silent night’ says much, given that there isn’t particularly inspired trading, with Wall Street equivocating ahead of Christmas.”

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Chinese Market Movements and Sentiment

Mainland China has experienced a decline in stocks, with the benchmark CSI 300 Index heading for its first drop in four sessions. Investor sentiment remains fragile, even after authorities softened their stance following recent measures to tighten regulations in the videogame industry.

Global Economic Indicators

In Singapore, the dollar remained stable after core inflation eased in November, providing leeway for the central bank to extend its monetary-policy pause in support of the economy.

Japan’s auction of two-year sovereign debt saw subdued investor appetite, possibly influenced by speculation about the central bank ending negative interest rates in 2024. The country’s labor market remained relatively tight in November.

Corporate and Commodity Highlights

In the corporate sphere, Chinese gaming shares outperformed the benchmark after several companies announced share repurchases following the latest government curbs on the sector.

Iron ore futures reached $140 a ton, the highest in 18 months, as traders monitor China’s steel outlook for the next year.

Oil prices saw a slight rise after posting the largest weekly gain in over two months. Attention is focused on shipping disruptions in the Red Sea following a series of Houthi attacks against vessels in the vital waterway.

Geopolitical Tensions and Outlook

Geopolitical tensions continue to be at the forefront of investors’ minds. Tensions in the Middle East are expected to escalate as Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi vows retaliation for the killing of a senior Revolutionary Guard commander.

Despite concerns about global growth, recent data indicates resilience in U.S. growth, reinforcing expectations for interest rate cuts in the coming year.

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