Asian shares soar on hopes for low charges, oil up on cyber assault By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A passerby wearing a protective mask is silhouetted in front of a screen with blank prices on a stock exchange board after the Tokyo Stock Exchange temporarily suspended trading due to system problems due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pa

By Stanley White

TOKYO (Reuters) – Shares rose Monday on speculation that interest rates will remain low due to easing inflationary pressures, while oil and gas prices rose following a cyberattack on a U.S. pipeline operator that unsettled the markets.

MSCI’s broadest index for stocks in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan rose 0.35%, while US stock futures rose 0.24%.

Australian stocks hit their highest level in more than a year, fueled by gains in miners, and stocks in China rose 0.46%. Japanese stocks were up 0.91%.

U.S. wages and salaries data for non-farmers on Friday showed employment growth slowed unexpectedly in April, boosting stocks but putting pressure on the dollar and U.S. Treasury Department yields.

Oil and gasoline futures extended profits after a cyber attack shut down a U.S. pipeline operator that supplies nearly half of the U.S. east coast’s fuel supply.

“It certainly shifts the Fed rejuvenation schedule, possibly to December, from the previous expectations of the Jackson Hole Symposium in late August,” wrote Chris Weston, chief researcher at broker Pepperstone in Melbourne, in a memo.

“Softer payrolls are good for reflation trading. The dollar has weakened across the FX spectrum. We have also seen solid supply in stock indices and futures are up.”

On Friday, the and the record highs rose to record highs after disappointing data in the US labor market and eased concerns about a surge in consumer prices.

For the past few weeks, some investors have been betting that a robust rebound in the US economy from the coronavirus pandemic would force the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates earlier than the central bank announced.

However, the weak reporting on non-farm payrolls resulted in a rapid reversal in some of these businesses, affecting stocks, bonds and major currencies.

The focus is now shifting to US consumer price data due Wednesday, which investors can use to determine if they need to cut their inflation expectations any further.

MSCI’s broadest index of global equity markets hit a record high on expectations that low interest rates will continue to fuel lending and economic growth.

That versus a basket of six major currencies rose to 90.252 but was still close to the weakest since February 25.

The British pound jumped to its highest level in more than two months against the greenback, but concerns about Scotland’s independence could hold back sterling gains, traders said.

China’s onshore spot yuan surged above $ 6.43 a dollar for the first time since Feb. 10.

The benchmark return remained at 1.5983% on Monday in Asia after falling to a two-month low of 1.4690% on Friday.

rose 1.17% to $ 65.66 a barrel. rose 1.11% to $ 69.04 a barrel in Asian trading as the US supply disruption rocked energy markets. [O/R]

Gasoline futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange rose 2.07% to $ 2.1710 a gallon, near a three-year high.

The White House is working closely with leading U.S. fuel pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline on Sunday to recover from a ransomware attack that forced the company to shut down its main fuel lines.

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