Bitcoin rises 20 percent after Tesla endorsement; Asian stocks, oil gain on US stimulus hopes and vaccine releases.
Markets pinned their hopes for economic recovery on signs that the Biden administration was committed to passing its stimulus package [File: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg]
Asian stocks rose on Tuesday after a record-setting day on Wall Street, while bitcoin paused for breath after an overnight endorsement from Tesla Inc sent the cryptocurrency up 20 percent to a new record high.
Oil prices hit 13-month highs, helped by rising optimism that fuel demand will rise.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was last up 0.32 percent at 721.53 after climbing as high as 730.16 late last month.
Korean shares were up 0.92 percent while Chinese blue chips rose 0.49 percent and Hong Kong’s main index nudged up 0.24 percent.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was up 0.36 percent and e-mini futures for the S&P 500 were 0.5 percent higher.
The early action came after another day of so-called reflation trades around the world, in which global investors bought up stocks, oil and gold while US Treasury yields held near 11-month highs.
Expectations have been building that inflation would pick up as governments and central banks continue their huge spending programmes and easy-money policies until officials are certain that their economies will recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
“Asia-Pacific equities embrace another ‘risk-on’ session as major US indices broke fresh highs on hopes that Democrats will push through a large stimulus bill,” Margaret Yang, a strategist at investment firm IG, said in a note sent to Al Jazeera.
Wall Street reached all-time closing highs on Monday as the Nasdaq Composite added nearly 1 percent and the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained about 0.75 percent.
In the more volatile cryptocurrency markets, bitcoin briefly passed $47,000 for the first time before paring back its gains. It was last traded at $45,669.
The token got a push when US electric carmaker Tesla Inc said overnight it had invested about $1.5bn in the virtual currency and expects to accept it as payment for its cars in the future. The developments amounted to the biggest endorsement of the controversial cryptocurrency by a mainstream firm. Elon Musk, Tesla’s founder and the world’s richest man, has for months been commenting about bitcoin, buffeting its price.
Oil prices continued to rise on Tuesday, reaching 13-month highs.
Brent rose 33 cents, or 0.54 percent, US West Texas Intermediate crude was at $58.34 a barrel, up 37 cents, or 0.64 percent.
“There is a sense that the glut of oil supply is disappearing more rapidly than anybody thought possible,” said Phil Flynn, a senior analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “There seems to be a paradigm shift in the market.”
The spot gold price rose 0.37 percent to $1,837 an ounce as expectations of a large US economic stimulus package bolstered its appeal as a hedge against rising inflation.
Such expectations hit the US dollar index – a measure of the currency’s value against a basket of commonly traded peers – which fell further on Tuesday after slipping at the end of last week on a weaker-than-expected jobs report. It was last down 0.091 percent at 90.868.
Against the yen, the dollar was down 0.12 percent at 105.10.