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Picking the lead

eggs in one basket

Asia Pacific markets are set to ignore a soft session in the US and follow European markets into the green. Stocks in New Zealand and Australia are up in early trading, and futures markets indicate similar strength across the region. Pressure on the safe haven Japanese yen exemplifies the economic confidence that is driving shares and bond yields higher.

The sectoral performance illustrates a number of different motivations for buyers. Greater leverage to growth is lifting technology stocks, while a bond rally this morning is driving gains for the interest rate sensitive property sector. Gold stocks are higher with the spot price. Confidence in economic recovery is buoying both consumer staples and discretionary stocks, although previous support for industrial and financial shares means those sectors are marking time today.

The US dollar slid again overnight, boosting commodity prices. Gold rose alongside crude oil, pointing to the currency as a key driver. CMC’s All Crypto Index hit a third consecutive all-time high this morning, despite Bitcoin’s repeated failures at the $60,000 mark. Instead, Stellar Lumens, NEO and Bitcoin Cash are the leading the index higher.

European PMIs tonight could add to the positive market environment. The UK and German services sectors are expected to confirm ongoing expansion in March, although forecasts for France and Italy are closer to break even.

The minutes from the US Federal Reserve’s recent meeting will likely continue the central bank’s tightrope walk, talking up growth prospects while talking down inflation expectations. Any hints that the Fed is considering tapering its bond purchases could spark a reaction, lifting the dollar and bond yields.

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