As concerns over Hurricane Irma and tensions in the Korean peninsula are abating, investors’ appetite for risk is further boosted, pushing global equities higher. The UN Security Council did approve a proposal to impose further sanctions on North Korea, though those were softer in nature to the ones the US initially pushed forward. This development is spurring hopes that the opposing sides will, moving forward, opt to negotiate rather than engage in provocative actions against one another.
In Asia, the Nikkei 225 rose by 1.2%, almost equally impressive to yesterday’s gain by 1.4%. The Topix, a broader gauge of Japanese equities, advanced by 0.9%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6%, the Shanghai Composite was 0.1% up and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up by a bit less than that.
Turning to European benchmarks, the UK’s FTSE 100 was 0.1% down during morning trading hours in the continent, with the German DAX and French CAC 40 both up by 0.5%. The UK’s blue-chip index was weighed by the rising sterling after inflation numbers released during morning European trading hours came in stronger than expected, negatively affecting FTSE constituents which derive a significant proportion of their revenues from overseas markets and thus benefit from a weaker pound.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 was on the rise for the fifth straight day, its longest stretch since April. The index was last trading 0.5% higher with financials leading the gains. Credit Suisse (up 2.9%) was a notable gainer. The Swiss bank was today upgraded to “buy” by Societe Generale.
The Stoxx 600 Insurance sub-index, which yesterday posted a strong rally after estimates of insured losses from Irma’s effects were revised downwards, maintained positive momentum and was last up by 0.6%.
French automaker Peugeot was the CAC’s top performer, being last up by 1.9%. The carmaker announced that it is considering transferring the production of electric vehicle components back to within the company, while adding that it would present a restructuring plan for its Opel brand in November.
Insurers rose in the US during yesterday’s trading on the back of Irma’s severity being downgraded. The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished the day higher by 1.2%, exceeding the 22,000 handle. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite both gained 1.1%, with the former managing to close at the all-time high of 2,488.11. Futures markets were last pointing to a higher open on Wall Street during today’s trading.
Apple will unveil its latest iPhone models later in the day. The smart phone makes up for the bulk of the tech giant’s revenues. The company’s stock price yesterday rose by 1.8%, acting as the biggest boost to the S&P and the Nasdaq.
It remains to be seen whether market participants’ attention will remain on company fundamentals and on the more positive global growth story, or whether a fresh catalyst, potentially yet again pertaining to geopolitics, will dampen appetite for riskier assets.