A woman holds an umbrella while passing the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. Picture: REUTERS
A woman holds an umbrella while passing the Nasdaq MarketSite in New York's Times Square. Picture: REUTERS

New York — Global stock markets rallied and China’s yuan posted its biggest gain since December on Monday as investors bet the Chinese economy would boost global growth even as surging coronavirus cases delayed business re-openings across the US.

Data showing unexpected growth in the US services sector last month, almost returning to its pre-pandemic levels, also helped drive Wall Street higher and lift Brent crude futures, the global benchmark for oil.

The Nasdaq set fresh closing highs, led by Amazon.com as its shares crossed $3,000 for the first time. Tesla jumped 13.5%, up 228% so far this year.

The yuan led commodity currencies higher against the dollar as investors lapped up risky assets on growing expectations of a strong economic rebound in China, where an index of blue-chip Chinese shares soared to a five-year high.

A Chinese economic revival bodes well for Australia and Europe, which count Beijing as their biggest trading partner.

The euro advanced 0.55% to $1.1310 and European shares jumped. The broad FTSEurofirst 300 index added 1.53% as stocks exposed to China — carmakers, industrials, energy firms and luxury goods makers — rose strongly. Banks also rallied.

The rally in Chinese stocks was the big catalyst, said Stephen Gallo, European head of FX strategy at BMO Financial Group. “The only caveat is that China’s economy is not driven purely by free-market forces. But if regulators in China are engineering a stronger equity market, it can still feed through to the rest of the world.”

China’s offshore yuan was on track for its best day against the dollar since December 12, up 0.76 at 7.0150.

Chinese blue chips jumped 5.7% on top of a 7% gain last week to their highest since June 2015. Even Japan’s Nikkei, which has lagged due to a soft domestic economy, rose 1.8%.

MSCI’s all-country world index, a gauge of equity performance in 49 countries, rose 1.8%. Emerging markets jumped 2.59%, their biggest single-day gain in three months.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 459.67 points, or 1.78%, to 26,287.03. The S&P 500 gained 49.71 points, or 1.59%, at 3,179.72, and the Nasdaq composite added 226.02 points, or 2.21%, at 10,433.65.

A slew of upbeat US data, including a record rise in June payrolls last week, has powered the Nasdaq to fresh highs and lifted stock markets around the world on recovery hopes.

But a resurgence of US coronavirus cases has clouded the future. In the first five days of July, 16 US states reported record increases in new cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus that has infected nearly 3-million Americans and killed more than 130,000, according to a Reuters tally.

US treasury yields were higher on Monday as investors priced in auctions this week that will increase the supply of the low-risk debt.

The benchmark 10-year yield was up 0.1 basis points to yield 0.6808%. German 10-year yields traded at -0.469%.

Oil rose slightly on the US service sector data, while a spike in coronavirus cases that could curb fuel demand in the US limited gains.

Brent crude settled up 30c at $43.10 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate crude fell 2cs to settle at $40.63.

Gold edged towards an almost eight-year high hit last week as the spike in coronavirus cases kept safety demand elevated, though the rally in equities and the strong US services sector data limited the metal’s advance.

US gold futures settled up 0.2% at $1,793.50 an ounce.

Reuters