Stock Futures Drift Higher in Muted Holiday Trading
By Joe Wallace
U.S. stock futures drifted higher Thursday, with investors
anticipating a quiet day of trading on Thanksgiving.
Futures tied to the S&P 500 ticked up less than 0.1%, a day
after the benchmark stocks gauge closed at its second-highest level
on record. Futures for the technology-heavy Nasdaq-100 index edged
The U.S. stock and government-bond markets will be closed for
Overseas, the pan-continental Stoxx Europe 600 slipped 0.1%,
with U.K. equity markets weighing on the broader gauge.
Most major Asian markets ended the day higher. Japan's Nikkei
225 rose 0.9% to its highest level since 1991. The Shanghai
Composite Index ticked up 0.2%.
Stocks have been buoyed in recent weeks by optimism about the
potential widespread distribution of three Western vaccines in the
new year. Investors say the shots likely have the potential to
quell the pandemic, allowing portions of the world economy to
reopen and releasing pent-up demand for goods and services.
"The big story has been the strength in equity markets," said
Joe Little, chief global strategist at HSBC Asset Management.
"You're seeing many of these laggard sectors and even laggard
markets begin to enter the process of a catch-up."
The rotation into economically-sensitive sectors can keep
running in 2021, according to Mr. Little. European and U.K. stock
markets, heavily dominated by old-economy companies, stand to
benefit, he added.
Among individual European stocks, Repsol fell 4.4% after the
Spanish energy company said it would invest EUR18.3 billion ($21.8
billion) between 2021 and 2025 in a push to accelerate the energy
Shares in Lloyd Banking Group, Barclays and other
financial-services companies weighed on the U.K.'s FTSE 100
benchmark, a day after the nation's fiscal watchdog said the
economy is on course to record its worst contraction in 300 years.
Signs that the U.K. may leave the European Union without a trade
agreement and introduce new barriers to commerce have also made
money managers wary of investing in British stocks.
"Clearly Brexit news over the past day hasn't been as positive,"
said Edward Park, chief investment officer at Brooks Macdonald. "It
could over the medium term and long term be far more influential in
terms of GDP than Covid," Mr. Park said of a no-deal Brexit.
Buoyant stock markets in the U.S. and Europe contrast with a
worsening economic outlook for the next several months, as rising
coronavirus cases weigh on consumer confidence and restrictions
crimp activity. German consumer sentiment is set to fall in
December, market-research firm GfK said Thursday, after a pickup in
infections led authorities to impose a partial lockdown.
"There is a kind of contrast between the current situation
around us in the real world, where we see effectively we are in a
double-dip [recession]," said Nadège Dufossé, deputy head of
multiasset at Luxembourg-based asset manager Candriam. "But the
market is now focusing on next year, on the rebound."
The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a
basket of others, was flat.
Sweden's krona slipped 0.4% after the Riksbank said its key
interest rate is likely to remain at zero for the coming years. The
central bank expanded and extended its asset-purchase program.
In commodities, Brent-crude futures fell 0.7% to $48.18 a
barrel, trimming recent gains after the international energy
benchmark settled at its highest level since early March on
Bitcoin's surge stalled, pulling the cryptocurrency down around
9% to $17,130.60. Technical indicators showing that the price had
risen too high encouraged investors to book profits, said Joel
Kruger, foreign-exchange strategist at LMAX Group.
--Anna Hirtenstein contributed to this article.
Write to Joe Wallace at Joe.Wallace@wsj.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
November 26, 2020 07:22 ET (12:22 GMT)
Copyright (c) 2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.