Biden Gives World Stocks a Lift and Dollar Fades

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On Monday, world stocks reached a record high while the dollar stayed weak, as risk appetite surged amidst expectations of more monetary stimulus and better global trade ties under U.S. President-elect Joe Biden. Last week, markets had begun to trade on the prospect of a Biden win and a Republican-controlled Senate, but the move received more fuel due to the projected victory of the Democratic candidate. Tracking shares in 49 countries, the MSCI world equity index increased by 0.5% to reach a record high in the early hours of European trading. On Friday, it reached its biggest gain in one-week in almost seven months.

There was a more than 1.4% jump in the S&P 500 E-mini futures on Monday. There was a more than 2% rally in Nasdaq futures to reach just below a record high, which signaled a positive kick-off for the U.S. markets. There was also a 1.3% increase in the MSCI’s index of Asia Pacific shares, exclusive of Japan, after it reached its highest level since January 2018. By 0846 GMT, the pan-European STOXX 600 had reached one-month highs with a rise of 1.5%. Analysts said that markets were excited due to the prospect of less trade and diplomatic angst and a lower dollar. 

Last week, there was a rally in equities, with a 7.3% surge in the S&P 500, which marks the best gain to be made in an election week since 1932. Investors are expecting Republicans to retain control of the Senate, which would make it difficult for the Biden administration to make any major changes in policy, from a big fiscal aid package to a planned hike in corporate tax. This would improve the earnings prospects for firms exposed to the largest economy in the world. However, it would also mean that the U.S. Federal Reserve would have to step in further for easing monetary conditions and supporting an economy hit by the pandemic.

Last week, there was a record number of COVID-19 infections in the United States, as the total number of cases reached 10 million. However, some experts said Biden’s presidency may not necessarily require a tweak in the portfolio because the U.S. economy remains fragile and there is a slowdown in growth. They believe that there might be some good prospects in the energy space and emerging markets also have a lot to offer. There was also a jump in oil prices on Monday, as investors welcomed the prospect of a Biden win and shrugged off concerns about lackluster demand due to rising coronavirus cases. 

However, analysts said that the outlook is expected to get tougher because investors will now be focusing on Biden’s ability to boost the fiscal stimulus, along with the measures he takes for curbing the spread of coronavirus. The dollar, on the other hand, has weakened in the last few days, due to expectations that global trade relations will see an improvement and the monetary policy in the U.S. will remain easy. On Friday, it saw its biggest weekly loss in almost seven months.