Marketmind: Santa rally vs the Grinch – Metro US

Marketmind: Santa rally vs the Grinch

Long lines for COVID-19 tests in Washington ahead of the
Long lines for COVID-19 tests in Washington ahead of the holidays

A look at the day ahead from Dhara Ranasinghe.

If last week was all about central bank gatherings, then this week is all about how the fast-spreading Omicron Covid variant could deprive markets of any festive cheer.

New Zealand on Tuesday delayed the planned reopening of its international border because of Omicron, as several other countries reimposed social distancing measures.

Many nations are on high alert just days before Christmas and New Year celebrations, as the latest health crisis renews uncertainty in world markets and deals a fresh blow to the global economic recovery.

The number of shoppers on Britain’s high streets for instance fell by 2.6% over the weekend, market research company Springboard said on Monday. Euro zone consumer confidence data out later will likely be watched closely.

Stocks, which tumbled on Monday, appear on firmer ground for now. Asian shares cheered Chinese efforts to shore up a troubled property sector, rallying over 1%, snapping a two-day losing streak.

Japan’s Nikkei rallied 2%, European and U.S. stock futures are firm.

And note that even as stocks tumbled on Monday, investors did not flock to traditional safe-havens such as bonds and gold. That might be because many investors have wound up positions for the year. Another explanation, say others, is that assets such as sovereign bonds are expensive.

Elsewhere, the battered Turkish lira rallied 7%, after a historic 25% recovery from record lows, as President Tayyip Erdogan unveiled a plan he said would guarantee local currency deposits against market fluctuations.

Key developments that should provide more direction to markets on Tuesday:

– China Mobile to raise up to $8.8 bln in Shanghai listing

– UK public borrowing totals 17.4 billion pounds in November

– UK businesses feel pressure from Omicron – Lloyds survey

– Japan upgrades economic view for first time in 17 months in Dec report

– Australia’s central bank upbeat on outlook ahead of QE decision

– German consumer morale darkens

– Euro zone flash consumer confidence December

– Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia issues Nonmanufacturing – – Business Outlook Survey for December 1330 GMT

– US current account Q3 (Graphic: COVID and CESI, https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/akvezowkrpr/chart%20for%20MB.JPG)

(Reporting by Dhara Ranasinghe; Editing by Saikat Chatterjee)