Spoos Hug 4,200 In Thin Holiday Trading As Global Stocks Close Out 4th Month Of Gains

It was anything but "sell in May"...

With US markets closed for Memorial Day, Emini futures traded virtually at 4,200 amid light volumes as world stocks were firmly on track to post a fourth straight month of gains on Monday.  MSCI’s index of world stocks drifted 0.1% higher, putting the gauge on track for a 1.4% gain for May. It is the longest monthly rising streak for the index since August 2020, when it marked a five-month run of gains, according to Reuters.

S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures swung between small gains and losses amid shortened trading hours due to the Memorial Day holiday in the U.S. The dollar was steady against a basket of peers.

The dollar continued to struggle ahead of a slew of European and U.S. data this week that will provide a clearer picture on the global economy’s recovery path, while Brent was trading just shy of $70 after OEC

With US traders out, European stocks struggled for direction as markets awaited fresh catalysts, with the US payroll data later this week set to provide further clues on the outlook for the biggest economy. Europe's Stoxx 600 index fluctuated in a narrow range. Spain’s Endesa SA dragged the utilities sector lower following reports the Spanish government is preparing to rein in windfall profits for power producers. Deutsche Bank AG dropped after the Federal Reserve warned that its compliance programs aren’t adequate. U.K. markets were closed for a holiday. Here are some of the biggest European movers today:

  • Cattolica jumped as much as 14% in Milan trading after Assicurazioni Generali offered to buy all the shares it doesn’t already own in the Italian insurer at EU6.75 apiece in cash.
  • Norwegian Air gained as much as 13% after the battled airline resumed flying in Sweden on Monday. The company said it will offer 31 destinations from Stockholm and two from Gothenburg in the summer.
  • Spanish utilities fell Monday with Endesa down as much as 5.4% after reports during the weekend that the government is preparing to rein in so-called windfall profits from nuclear and hydraulic energy plants.
  • Solutions 30 shares slumped as much as 14% after the technology-services company said it will hold its annual shareholder meeting and a special meeting on June 30 although it hasn’t yet chosen a new accounting firm, while the company’s auditor refused to certify 2020 accounts.

Earlier in the quiet session, Asian stocks rose with the benchmark gauge on track to outperform the S&P 500 Index for the first month since January. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index went up 0.3%, buoyed by shares in Indonesia and Taiwan. China’s CSI 300 Index closed 0.2% higher Monday, extending gains after its best weekly surge since February on the back of record foreign buying of local stocks. Meanwhile, Malaysian stocks were among the day’s biggest decliners, with the benchmark index sliding 0.7% after the government imposed a two-week nationwide lockdown to curb a surge in Covid-19 infections. Shares in Japan and the Philippines also fell. Still, the Asian gauge is poised to gain more than 1% in May, in its second straight monthly advance as inflation concerns ease globally and the dollar weakens. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index, in which China has the largest weighting, climbed 1.1% Monday to its highest level since March 4. “We expect equities to nudge higher on strong earnings,” Nomura Holdings Inc. strategists led by Chetan Seth wrote in a mid-year outlook report on Asia Pacific equities. “Modest tightening of global liquidity in 2H implies multiples remain constrained and thus earnings growth/revisions will be the key to take stocks higher.” The brokerage has a year-end target of 900 for the MSCI Asia ex. Japan Index, implying a 1.8% upside from its Friday’s close.

Japanese stocks fell as investors took advantage of Friday’s rally to trim holdings as they assess the economic impact of the state of emergency for the nation’s major cities. Electronics makers and machinery companies were among the heaviest drags on the Topix, after being some of the biggest boosts to the gauge’s jump at the end of last week. SoftBank Group was the top contributor to the decline in the Nikkei 225 Stock Average after a report said Credit Suisse Group AG will no longer do any new business with the Japanese firm. Shares of Renesas Electronics Corp. slid after the Japanese automotive chipmaker announced that it will raise $2 billion from a stock sale to fund its purchase of Apple Inc. supplier Dialog Semiconductor Plc. “Japanese equities are prone to a selloff” given the gain on Friday, said Hajime Sakai, the chief fund manager at Mito Securities Co. in Tokyo. Whether the Nikkei 225 can head back toward 30,000 “will depend on how soon the country can go back to normalizing economic activity,” he said. Shares are underperforming the broader MSCI Asia Pacific Index after economic figures illustrated the pandemic’s impact. While factory output increased at a faster pace in April, retail sales dropped last month. Domestic demand remains subdued amid another virus wave and the third state of emergency the government extended last week until June 20. Shoji Hirakawa, the chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, said the Nikkei 225 may waver near 29,000, a key psychological level for the market. The blue-chip gauge closed above that level for the first time in almost three weeks on May 28, while the Topix climbed the most since March 1

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