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Democrat Senate win drives stocks higher, bonds lower

Democrat Senate win drives stocks higher, bonds lower

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a facial mask, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, runs past an electric board showing Nikkei index outside a brokerage at a business district in Tokyo, Japan, January 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

SINGAPORE -Bonds nursed losses and stock markets rose on Thursday in anticipation of a big borrowing and big spending Democrat administration driving growth, following runoff elections that gave the party control of both houses of U.S. Congress.

U.S. Treasuries had suffered their steepest selloff in months after Democrat victories in two Georgia races handed them narrow control of the Senate and the power to pass their agenda.

S&P 500 futures rose 0.6per cent and Nasdaq 100 futures rose 0.9per cent as markets seemed to shake off a late fade that pulled Wall Street indexes back from fresh record peaks when chaotic protests in Washington unnerved traders.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.8per cent to just shy of a record high, led by a 2.6per cent jump by South Korea's chipmaker-heavy Kospi and a 1.8per cent gain by Australia's miner-and-bank heavy ASX 200.

Japan's Nikkei rose 2per cent to its highest since 1990. FTSE and European futures rose slightly.

"It's basically a re-flation trade," said Mathan Somasundaram, head of Sydney-based research firm Deep Data Analytics, who added that the Democrat sweep was unexpected by most investors and "changes a lot."

"Even though its a razor-thin margin, it gives Democrats a two-year window (to pursue their agenda)," he said. "Anything that benefits from rising prices is going to do well...when you look at the policy settings they are trying to get through, it's about printing (money for) Main Street and not Wall Street."

Wednesday's bond selloff pushed the yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasuries over 1per cent for the first time since March. It rose as high as 1.0507per cent on Thursday.

The U.S. dollar also sank as the result became clearer because currency traders reckon that big and growing U.S. trade and budget deficits will weigh on the greenback.

The dollar struck an almost three-year low against the euro of US$1.2349 and hovered near that level on Thursday. It also fell to multi-year troughs against the Aussie, kiwi and Swiss franc.

CAPITOL CHAOS, CHINA CRACKDOWN

The exuberance was tempered by some selling in tech stocks, as investors expect the sector to face taxes and regulations, and by unsettling scenes of protesters storming the Capitol to disrupt certifying Donald Trump's electoral defeat.

Wall Street eased from session highs as police evacuated lawmakers and struggled for more than three hours to clear the Capitol of Trump supporters.

"What give us a little bit of a pause is that the economy is still very fragile and I think it's unlikely that Democrats are going to have as easy of a time as markets are trying to predict in passing some of these policies," said Tim Chubb, chief investment officer at wealth advisor Girard in Pennsylvania.

Congress has since reconvened to resume the election certification. Shares in Twitter slipped slightly after hours when the social network said it had temporarily locked Trump's account for violating the platform's rules.

Meanwhile a U.S. crackdown on Chinese companies appears to be deepening, with sources telling Reuters that the Trump administration is considering extending investment bans to tech giants Alibaba, and Tencent.

Shares in both fell more than 4per cent in Hong Kong and shares in three Chinese telecom firms that the New York Stock Exchange has eventually decided to remove after a week of flip-flopping also fell heavily.

Oil prices hovered near a 10-month high, basking in the afterglow of a production cut promised by Saudi Arabia. Brent crude futures were last up 0.7per cent to US$54.69 a barrel and U.S. crude futures rose 0.9per cent to US$51.07 a barrel.

Gold was steady at US$1,917 an ounce and bitcoin firm after making a fresh record high of US$37,785.

(Reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore. Additional reporting by Joori Roh in Seoul and Imani Moise in New York; Editing by Sam Holmes and Jane Wardell)

Source: Reuters

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