It comes after Asian stocks soared to a seven-month high this morning after Wall Street’s S&P 500 also smashed more records at closing. The closely-watched S&P 500 topped an all-time peak reached in February just before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic drove the benchmark index to lows on March 23. The index has surged about 55 percent since then. At just 126 days, that “is the fastest bear market recovery ever,” said Tapas Strickland, economist at Melbourne-based National Australia Bank.
Overnight, both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite set records soon after the opening bell following strong sales growth reported by major US retailers including Walmart, Kohl’s and Home Depot.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside of Japan rose 0.3 percent, up for a third straight day to 570.80 points, a level not seen since late January.
The gains were driven by Australian shares, up 0.8 percent and South Korea, which added 0.6 percent percent.
Japan’s Nikkei nudged up too though Chinese shares started weaker with the blue-chip CSI300 index off 0.7 percent.
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US supermarket operator Target Corp jumped 4.5 percent in premarket trade after posting its best quarterly comparable sales growth and online revenues with its numbers nearly tripled.
Home improvement chain Lowe’s Companies Inc rose 2.7 percent after beating estimates for quarterly same-store sales as it benefited from a surge in demand for its products from consumers stuck indoors.
It comes after the S&P 500 completed its fastest recovery from a bear market in history yesterday.
The Nasdaq, the first of the three main indexes to confirm a bull market in June, also closed at an all-time high.
The Dow is still nearly 6 percent below February’s record closing high.
At 6.35am ET (11.30am BST), Dow e-minis were up 40 points, or 0.14%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.5 points, or 0.13% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 12 points, or 0.11%
11.45am update: The FTSE-100 index is up 10.38 at 6087.00
11am update: Sluggish start continues for FTSE
FTSE’s sluggish start has continued this morning, with the index only recording a slight rise on yesterday’s close.
The index has risen only slightly from 6,072 to 6,088.
Earlier this morning it dropped down to 6,050 before recovering quickly.
10.45am update: The FTSE-100 index is up 7.87 at 6084.49
9.10am update: Cautious start to day for markets
It has been a slow start to the day for FTSE and the European markets.
The UK index is up 0.19% after this morning’s ONS inflation news.
In Europe, Euronext 100 is up 0.14%, CAC 40 is up 0.30%, DAX is up 0.26% and Swiss Market Index is up 0.22%.
7.45am update: Rail commuters face price hike
Rail commuters face a 1.6% price hike, adding to the Government’s huge struggles to get people to return to workplaces.
The fare increase, which is usually announced in January, is linked to July’s Retail Prices Index (RPI) measure of inflation, which was announced by the ONS today.
7.15am update: Inflation soars due to fuel price hike
The rate of Consumer Price Index inflation rose to 1% in July from 0.6% in June, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said this morning.
It caught economists by surprise, who on the whole thought inflation would stick at 0.6%.
A surge in international oil prices, which drove up the price of petrol and diesel, contributed to the increase, Jonathan Athow, deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, said.
He added: “The largest upward movement came from clothing where prices fell on the month but by less than a year ago, partly due to different sales patterns throughout the year so far.
“In addition, prices for private dental treatment, physiotherapy and haircuts have increased with the need for PPE contributing to costs for these businesses.
“Our new experimental numbers, taking into account changing spending patterns throughout the pandemic, show prices rising only a little higher than our headline inflation figures.”
6.06am update: US official sees ‘real desire’ for smaller coronavirus relief bill
Some Democrats and Republicans have a “real desire” to reach agreement on a smaller coronavirus relief bill that could be worth around $ 500 billion, a senior Trump administration official said late on Tuesday.
The official said the agreement could include funding for the US Postal Service, additional funding for loans to small- and medium-sized businesses to keep workers on their payrolls and potentially added money for schools.
“I think there’s a real desire by some in the Democratic caucus and some in the Republican conference, both in the House and the Senate, to do a smaller deal on the things we can agree upon,” the official said. “It could be about $ 500 billion.”
That amount still falls far short of what Democrats have been seeking in protracted discussions with the administration.
More to follow…