U.S Stocks: Wall Street opens higher after Biden speaks with China’s Xi Jinping; Bumble to begin trading today

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February 11, 2021 10:05 PM

Dating app Bumble begins trading later today. Rival Match Group hit an all-time high on Wednesday.

U.S Stocks: Wall Street opens higher after Biden speaks with China's Xi Jinping; Bumble to begin trading todayThe display outside the Nasdaq MarketSite is pictured as the dating app operator Bumble Inc. (BMBL) made its debut on the Nasdaq stock exchange during the company's IPO in New York City, New York, U.S. (Reuters image)

Wall Street is opening higher Thursday, after President Joe Biden held his first talk with Chinese leader Xi Jinping since taking office. The S&P 500 was up 0.3 per cent in the first minutes of trading to 3,921, heading toward another record high.

Dating app Bumble begins trading later today. Rival Match Group hit an all-time high on Wednesday. Stocks have been rising after a government inflation report suggested the US economy can absorb more stimulus without overheating. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note held at 1.15 per cent after being as high as 1.20 per cent earlier this week. Oil prices were lower.

World stock indexes were mostly higher on Thursday after President Joe Biden held his first conversation with Chinese leader Xi Jinping since taking office, though there was no indication of any major change in US trade policy.

Many markets in Asia were closed for the Lunar New Year and other holidays. Benchmarks in Paris, Frankfurt and Hong Kong, rose, while London was flat.

US futures edged higher.

With much of Asia celebrating the traditional start of the Year of the Ox, there is little in the way of fresh market driving news likely for the rest of the week from the region.

In their phone conversation, Biden and Xi appeared to have struck a conciliatory tone, Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.

US officials have signalled Washington will keep in place export restrictions on technology and tariffs imposed by the previous administration of President Donald Trump.

But investors and businesses in the region are hoping a more even-keeled approach to relations between the two biggest economies by the Biden administration might help minimize future shocks to trade and investment.

“The new normal remains mostly intact, although financial markets long-ago took it in their stride,” Halley said.

“The initial contact appears to have been civilized though, and for that, the rest of the world can be grateful.”

Germany’s DAX edged 0.1 per cent higher to 13,949.43 while the CAC 40 in Paris gained 0.3 per cent to 5,688.80.

Britain’s FTSE 100 was flat at 6,527.11. The future for the S&P 500 gained 0.2 per cent to 3,909.10 while the contract for the Dow industrials also gained 0.2 per cent, to 31,302.00.

Markets have been lifted by surprisingly good company earnings reports, indications that a recent surge in new coronavirus cases is easing, progress in the distribution of vaccines and signs that lawmakers in Washington are moving toward delivering another financial boost for the economy.

A US government report released Wednesday showed that inflation remained tame last month, reassuring investors that the economy can absorb more stimulus without overheating.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.5 per cent to 30,173.57 and the Sensex in India edged 0.2 per cent higher to 51,382.86.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.1 per cent to 6,850.10. Markets were closed in Tokyo, Taiwan, Seoul and Shanghai.

On Wednesday, the S&P 500 slipped less than 0.1 per cent to 3,909.88 after swinging between a gain of 0.5 per cent and a loss of 0.7 per cent. Nearly 60 per cent of the companies in the benchmark index rose, though a slide in technology stocks and companies that provide consumer services and products kept those gains in check.

The Dow rose 0.2 per cent to 31,437.80. The Nasdaq lost 0.3 per cent to 13,972.53. The Russell 2000 index of small companies fell 0.7 per cent, to 2,282.44.

The Labour Department said Wednesday that US consumer prices rose 0.3 per cent in January, led by a surge in energy. It was the biggest monthly increase since July, but inflation over the past year has remained a modest 1.4 per cent. Core inflation, which excludes volatile food and energy costs, is also up 1.4 per cent, with core prices unchanged in January.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury note ticked up to 1.15 per cent. It was as a high as 1.20 per cent earlier this week.

Investors are watching inflation metrics more closely as Democrats in Congress prepare to inject $1.9 trillion of stimulus into the economy.

US businesses are starting to reopen and millions of Americans are now vaccinated, meaning there could be a surge of economic activity that could drive prices higher. So far, much of the extra money being channeled into economies appears to be lodging in financial markets.

In other trading Thursday, U.S. benchmark crude oil lost 39 cents to USD 58.29 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It picked up 32 cents to USD 58.68 on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard for pricing, declined 39 cents to USD 61.08 per barrel.

The U.S. dollar rose to 104.66 Japanese yen from 104.59 yen. The euro slipped to USD 1.2119 from USD 1.2120.

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