Asian markets firmer as retail frenzy unsettles outlook


Asian markets looked set for a modestly firmer start on Tuesday as global markets faced another chaotic week, with retail investors expanding their duel with Wall Street into commodities and driving up the price of silver.

In early Asian trade, Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 benchmark was up 0.81% and South Korea’s KOSPI up 0.79%, adding to a rally in the previous session. Japan’s Nikkei futures rose 0.6% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures eased 0.1%.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 inched 0.07% higher in early trading.

Institutional investors are still digesting the retail trading frenzy that has boosted GameStop Corp and other so called meme stocks in recent sessions against their financial fundamentals.

On Monday, amateur investors who have been organizing on social media sites like Reddit and Twitter, set their sights on silver, driving up mining stocks around the world and sending precious metals dealers scrambling for bars and coins to meet demand.

Silver prices rose 6.3% after reaching an eight-year peak during Monday trading, while spot gold rose 0.8% to $ 1,860.93 per ounce. U.S. gold futures settled up 0.7% at $ 1,863.90.

U.S. stocks also rallied after last week’s selloff fueled by gains in technology and mining companies.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 229.29 points, or 0.76%, to 30,211.91, the S&P 500 gained 59.62 points, or 1.61%, to 3,773.86 and the Nasdaq Composite added 332.70 points, or 2.55%, to 13,403.39.

The dollar index rose 0.37% against a basket of currencies to a six-week high of 90.955 in late afternoon trading, rising on the back of evidence pointing toward a stronger recovery from the coronavirus pandemic for the United States than for other countries.

U.S. Treasury yields were pushed down by expectations of lower borrowing to fund economic stimulus measures after Republicans unveiled their counter proposal to President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion stimulus plan with less than a third of the funding.

The benchmark 10-year yield was last down 2.5 basis points at 1.0689%.

The two-year yield, typically an indication of interest rate expectations, was last at 0.1113% and traded as low as 0.107%, just above its all-time low of 0.105% reached in May.

Brent crude settled up 2.4% at $ 56.35 a barrel. U.S. crude gained 2.6% to $ 53.55 as falling inventories and rising fuel demand due to a massive snow storm in the Northeast United States propped up prices.