Following the weak U.S. nonfarm payroll data resulting in lowered expectations regarding an interest rate hike from the U.S. Federal Reserve, the stock markets saw gains while the dollar index fell by 0.2 percent
Emerging stocks booked a third day of gains to approach new one-year highs, helped by recent weak U.S. data, while South African assets benefited from forecast-beating second quarter growth data yesterday. MSCI's emerging market index added 0.9 percent and flirted with fresh one-year highs after being lifted by strong gains across Asia, where stocks in Taiwan and India jumped more than 1 percent while equities in Russia and Hungary rose half a percentage point. The benchmark has rallied more than 3 percent since hitting an intraday low on Thursday when it was whacked by hawkishness around a central bankers' meeting in Jackson Hole. It then bounced back after U.S. jobs and factory data that reduced expectations of a rate rise this month.
"If there were any questions about a September rate hike in the U.S., that has been pushed back to December," said William Jackson, senior EMC economist at Capital Economics. Recent economic data from emerging market economies had also improved, he added
"We're unlikely to see the gains we saw in emerging market equities earlier in August, but there is some scope for it to continue."
The upbeat sentiment towards emerging markets helped investment manager Ashmore post forecast-beating full-year profits. But while investors added to positions in emerging markets in the past year, Ashmore said many institutional investors would take longer to react to improving market conditions. Currencies broadly strengthened against a softer dollar.
South Africa led the pack, with the rand adding more than 1 percent in to hit the strongest in 11 days. The rand has risen for four straight sessions, recovering from two-month low it hit last week on back of escalating political tensions within the ruling ANC Party.
The cost of insuring exposure to South African sovereign debt was at its lowest in seven days, according to Markit.
Markets should gain more traction after data showed second quarter gross domestic product expanded 3.3 percent on the quarter versus forecasts of 2.3 percent. Russia's rouble struggled 0.1 percent higher as Brent crude prices slipped following two days of solid gains and as hopes for producers to support prices wanes. In Turkey, the lira traded flat at 2.94 against the dollar. Across emerging Europe, Poland's zloty rose 0.2 percent against the euro before Wednesday's central bank meeting that is expected to keep rates unchanged. Romania confirmed its flash second quarter GDP, showing the economy had expanded a solid 6 percent year-on-year with domestic consumption nearly hitting double digits, putting it at the top of regional growth stakes.
On the other hand, Wall Street was set to open little changed yesterday as investors weighed the chances of an interest rate hike following a lackluster jobs report.
Top Federal Reserve officials, encouraged by a string of strong economic data, had hinted that a rate hike could come as early as this month.
However, Friday's employment numbers dampened those expectations.
Traders now see a 21 percent chance of a rate hike this month, down from 24 percent, following Friday's jobs numbers. The odds edged down to 50.6 percent from 53.6 percent for December, according to CME Group's FedWatch tool.
The dollar index fell 0.2 percent yesterday.
"The markets probably got what they most wanted," said Andre Bakhos, managing director at Janlyn Capital.
"The jobs number wasn't strong enough to strike fear of a rate hike this month, nor weak enough to cast doubts on the economy."
Dow e-minis were up 20 points, or 0.11 percent at 8:24 a.m. ET, with 31,613 contracts changing hands.
S&P 500 e-minis were up 1.75 points, or 0.08 percent, with 238,500 contracts traded.
Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 4.75 points, or 0.1 percent, on volume of 34,764 contracts.
A reading of the Institute for Supply Management's index for non-manufacturing activity is expected to remain little changed at 55 in August, compared with 55.5 percent in July. The report is due at 10:00 a.m. ET (1400 GMT).
Investors have been keeping a keen eye on comments from Fed officials for clues on when the next rate hike could come. San Francisco Fed President John Williams is scheduled to speak on economic outlook in Reno, Nevada on Tuesday.
Shares of molecular diagnostics company Cepheid soared 52.4 percent premarket after the company agreed to be bought by Danaher for $4 billion, including debt.
Danaher's shares were marginally lower.
Navistar jumped 31.2 percent after Volkswagen agreed to supply engines to U.S. truck maker in exchange for a 16.6 percent stake.
Monsanto edged up 0.61 percent after German chemical maker Bayer sweetened its bid to buy the world's largest seed company.
About the author
Research Associate at Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA) at Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University