Asian stocks and pound cheer Brexit, Alibaba lowers monopoly probe By Reuters

© Reuters. People wearing protective face masks looking at a stock exchange card outside a Tokyo brokerage

By Stanley White and John McCrank

TOKYO / NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian stocks and the British pound rose on Thursday ahead of the Christmas holidays as Britain and the EU closed a free trade agreement and investors bet on global economic recovery opportunities.

MSCI’s broadest index of stocks in Asia and the Pacific outside Japan rose 0.14%. Australian equities rose 0.57% while Tokyo equities rose 0.43%.

Chinese stocks rose 0.02%, however Alibaba (NYSE 🙂 Group Holding Ltd fell 6.28%, the biggest daily drop in six weeks after China’s market regulator said it would investigate the technology giant on suspicion of monopolistic behavior.

US stock futures rose 0.11%.

Investors cheered the news that Britain and the EU were on the verge of concluding a narrow trade agreement on Thursday, which would help avoid shipping and travel chaos on both sides of the English Channel.

Hopes of more fiscal spending and expectations that coronavirus vaccines will become more available next year also supported global equities.

“A pro-risk and weak dollar theme dominated the markets for optimism about vaccines, US and UK fiscal stimulus and Brexit in the hope that an agreement on the latter could be reached before Christmas,” ANZ Bank analysts wrote in a research note.

The potential for a Brexit deal increased sterling, rising 0.3% to $ 1.3535. The pound remained stable at 90.20 pence per. Euro.

The pound also withdrew support after France lifted its ban on freight from Britain, which it had adopted in response to a more contagious coronavirus variant in Britain.

MSCI’s target for global equities rose 0.1%, but movements were subdued in thin holiday trading.

Alibaba, co-founder of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, was the stock to be seen in Asia on Thursday as Chinese authorities intensified their campaign against large technology companies.

Separately, Ant Group, mobile payments and consumer credit arm in Ma’s tech empire, said it would comply with all regulatory requirements after China’s financial watchdogs said they would hold regulatory talks with it in the next few days.

Last month, China stopped Ant Ant’s initial IPO of $ 37 billion by $ 2 billion, shattering what would have been the world’s biggest stock market debut.

Wall Street ended mostly higher on Wednesday with the finish at 0.38% and the edging 0.07% higher.

The declining 0.29%.

A series of mixed US economic data showed lower unemployment requirements and an increase in new orders for durable goods, but also a pullback in consumption spending, declining personal income and fading mood as the holiday shopping season draws to a close amid a resurgent pandemic.

Investors largely withdrew their comments from US President Donald Trump that a stimulus bill of nearly $ 900 billion. Dollars agreed upon after months of quarreling in Congress were “a disgrace” which he may not have signed.

“Risk management is driving markets so far today, and it seems to be weighed more against possible optimism about a Brexit deal and the cherry-picked parts of US releases rather than Trump’s ruthless pranks over signing the stimulus and financing bill,” Derek said Holt, Head of Capital Markets Economics at Scotiabank.

US West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 18 cents to $ 48.30 per share. Barrel at 0124 GMT, while futures rose 20 cents to $ 51.40, fueled by a drop in US stocks and a potential Brexit trade deal.