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Stocks, futures advance before banks meet

Bloomberg

Stocks gained on Tuesday as traders prepared for this year’s last central bank meetings later this week. Treasuries and the dollar were little changed.
Miners led gains in Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index, while US contracts rose after S&P 500 slid from a record and the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 underperformed. MSCI Inc’s Asia-Pacific share index falls for a third session, with Chinese property and technology stocks struggling.
Traders will be watching the Federal Reserve’s policy decision due Wednesday for clues on the timing of tapering stimulus and raising interest rates. The Fed’s is among 20 central bank meetings this week that could stir market swings. Investors are grappling with implications of reduced monetary policy support while awaiting more clarity on economic threats from the omicron virus variant.
Among individual movers, Rentokil Initial Plc, the pest-control company, jumped after agreeing to buy Terminix Global Holdings Inc. to expand in the US, the world’s largest market.
In commodities, crude oil rose as the traders weighed
possible obstacles to global reopening from omicron-related mobility curbs.
European gas prices extended a rally, with tensions between Russia and Ukraine threatening to extend this year’s crunch into next winter.
On the virus front, omicron dented the protection afforded by two doses of Pfizer Inc.’s and AstraZeneca Plc’s Covid vaccines as feared, researchers found, increasing the risk of infection. China reported its first omicron case.
Concerns about Beijing’s crackdown on China’s indebted property sector have flared anew, hurting sentiment. The nation’s real-estate downturn likely sapped economic activity in November.
Meanwhile, Elon Musk is accelerated his disposal of Tesla Inc. shares after last month’s Twitter poll, as he exercises more options. The world’s richest person offloaded another 934,091 shares for about $906.5 million to cover taxes on the exercise of 2.1 million options, according to regulatory filings.
“Volatility will remain elevated throughout all of this week’s rate decisions from the Fed, ECB and BOE,” Edward Moya, senior market analyst at Oanda Corp., wrote in a note. “2022 is still expected to be a strong global growth story, but accelerated central bank hawkishness could be the one thing that helps deliver the first major pullback with US equities.”

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