Most Asian markets extended gains Tuesday following another record on Wall Street though investors remain torn between vaccine-fuelled optimism over the economic outlook and fears over a surge in inflation the recovery is expected to bring with it.
With a number of big data announcements coming this week, analysts said traders were largely biding their time awaiting the next catalyst to drive buying, though most tip the year-long rally across equities to continue this year despite recent stutters.The major call is Friday’s government employment report, which will give the latest snapshot of the world’s top economy as it slowly emerges from the crisis, while private jobs and unemployment claims are also due, along with readings on manufacturing activity.
“With a lot of growing optimism in the price, economic data will need to do much heavy lifting in the future,” said Stephen Innes at Axi. “And as we all know, nothing is a sure bet in the markets, especially when it comes to banking on lofty economic data expectations.”
Also in focus is Joe Biden’s much-anticipated infrastructure bill, which is tipped to be worth $3 trillion — some reports have suggested $4 trillion — and which follows just months after his vast stimulus package.
The expected spending spree by the US government comes as the president pledges that 90 percent of American adults will be eligible for vaccination by April 19. Meanwhile, his goal of getting 200 million people jabbed within his first 100 days also appears to be well on course.
Hong Kong, Shanghai, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei and Wellington all rose, though Tokyo, Sydney, Manila and Jakarta struggled.
Crude initially tumbled Monday on news that traffic resumed on the Suez Canal after a massive container ship blocking the waterway was freed.(AFP)