U.S. and European stocks futures moved higher on Monday as Asian markets lagged, while bonds surrendered some of their recent gains and oil rallied as Saudi Arabia lifted its crude prices.
November’s mixed U.S. jobs report did little to shake market expectations of more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve, leaving a week to wait for a consumer price report that could make the case for an early tapering.
Omicron remained a concern as the variant spread to about one-third of U.S. states, though there were reports from South Africa that cases there only had mild symptoms.
Early trade was cautious as MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched down 0.5%.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 eased 0.5%, even as the government considered raising its economic growth forecast to account for a record $490 billion stimulus package.
Chinese blue chips managed a 0.6% gain after state media quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying Beijing will cut banks’ reserve requirement ratios (RRR) “in a timely way”.
Shares of embattled property developer China Evergrande Group slid 11% after the company said there was no guarantee it would have enough funds to meet debt repayments.
Wall Street was looking to rally after Friday’s late slide, with S&P 500 Futures adding 0.4% and Nasdaq futures 0.1%. EURO STOXX 50 futures firmed 1.1% and FTSE futures 0.8%.
While headline U.S. payrolls had underwhelmed in November, the survey of households was far stronger with a 1.1 million jump in jobs taking unemployment down to 4.2%.
“We think the Fed will view the economy as much closer to full employment than previously thought,” said Barclays economist Michael Gapen.
“Hence, we expect an accelerated taper at the December meeting, followed by the first rate hike in March. We continue to expect three 25 basis point hikes in 2022.”
The futures market is almost fully priced for a hike to 0.25% by May and 0.5% by November.
The FTSE MIB climbed down by 0.26% to 25,938.20. In the cash markets, the DAX Germany was trading down by 0.61% to 15,169.65. CAC 40 in France fell by 0.44% to 6,765.37 while the FTSE 100 in the U.K. was down by 0.10% to 7,122.35 ,at the time of writing.