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Asian shares close to all-time peak, oil heads to $60 on financial revival hopes By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: First day of trading on the Tokyo Stock Exchange

From Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian stocks moved near record highs on Monday as oil climbed closer to $ 60 a barrel in hopes that U.S. lawmakers will send out a COVID-19 bailout as early as this month $ 1.9 trillion will be passed once coronavirus vaccines are launched globally.

MSCI’s broadest index for stocks in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan rose 0.2% to 717.2 recently, not far from last week’s record high of 730.6.

rose 0.3% while Australian stocks rose 0.5%, led by tech and mining stocks.

E-mini futures for early Asian trading rose 0.3%.

Hopes for a faster economic recovery and supply restrictions by the producer group OPEC and its allies brought oil to its highest level in a year, when it hit nearly $ 60 a barrel. [O/R]

Global equity markets have hit record highs in the last few days in hopes of a faster economic recovery, led by successful vaccine launches and expectations for a major US pandemic relief package.

On Friday, the Nasdaq and S&P 500 hit all-time highs with stronger-than-expected company results in the fourth quarter, and as companies were on track to post earnings growth rather than decline in the first quarter. ()

The rallies came as US data painted a bleak picture of the country’s labor market and the number of employees rose by 49,000, half what economists expected.

The weak report spurred calls for more incentives and underscored the need for lawmakers to respond to President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion COVID-19 aid package.

Biden and his Democratic allies in Congress pushed ahead with their stimulus plan on Friday when lawmakers passed a draft budget that will allow them to hold out for the coming weeks without Republican support.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen predicted that the United States would reach full employment next year if Congress could pass its support package.

“This is a big challenge considering full employment is 4.1%, but one that fits the market well if the vaccination program is implemented efficiently in a number of countries,” said Chris Weston, chief strategist at Melbourne Pepper .

In currencies, the US dollar hit a four-month high against the Japanese yen, most recently at 105.39 according to the job weakness report.

The euro rose slightly after rising 0.7% on Friday to a weekly high of $ 1.2054. It was last at $ 1.2044.

The risk-sensitive Australian dollar held near a weekly high of $ 0.7678.

In commodities, it rose 52 cents to $ 59.86 and $ 0.57.37, respectively.

The US was up 0.2% to $ 1,817 an ounce.

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