Stocks gain as investors look past U.S. hedge fund default


LONDON (Reuters) - Global stock markets rose on Tuesday as investors shook off worries about a hedge fund default that hit international banking stocks overnight, and remained focused on the global COVID-19 vaccination programme.

The German share price index DAX graph is pictured at the stock exchange in Frankfurt, Germany, March 29, 2021. REUTERS/Staff

European stocks opened higher with the regional STOXX 600 index up 0.4% by 1100 GMT. Britain’s FTSE 100 was up 0.2%, Germany’s DAX 0.6%, Italy’s FTSE MIB rose 0.3%, and France’s CAC 40 rose 0.5%.

MSCI’s All Country World Index, which tracks stocks across 49 countries, traded flat.

S&P 500 stock futures were off 0.1%.

Sentiment in Asia was mixed early, then turned positive, with most of the region’s major markets trading higher.

Nomura and Credit Suisse are facing billions of dollars in losses and regulatory scrutiny after a U.S. investment firm, named by sources as Archegos Capital, defaulted on equity derivative bets, putting investors on edge about who else might be exposed.

Nomura shares were down a further 1.1% Tuesday after dropping as much as 16% on Monday, when it revealed it might take a $2 billion loss from the hedge fund fallout.

“From a market perspective, with contagion looking limited ... despite the news flow of further forced liquidations and prime brokerage losses, this looks at this stage to be a positioning-driven sell-off in U.S. futures and various single stock names,” said Eleanor Creagh, market strategist at Saxo Bank.

Creagh added that further forced deleveraging was still a risk if prime brokers tighten margin requirements.

Graphic: Global asset performance

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.6% higher. Mainland China’s CSI300 index rose 1%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 1.2% to reach 28,668, driven up by a rebound in the city’s tech stock index. That index has been under pressure from concern over the Chinese government’s move to increase regulation of tech companies.

Japan’s Nikkei was flat, weighed down by Nomura. Australia sounded a weaker tone when the S&P/ASX200 closed down 0.9% at its lowest point for a week.

Credit Suisse’s Asia Pacific senior investment strategist Jack Siu said the prospect of Asian travel bubbles had sparked enthusiasm among some investors in the region.

“Tourism-dependent Asian economies will benefit,” he said.

Hong Kong’s commerce secretary, Edward Yau, flagged on Monday the government had restarted talks with Singapore on re-establishing a travel bubble between the cities.

Investor sentiment is still closely tied to the pace of the global vaccine rollout, said Citigroup equity derivative solutions director Elizabeth Tian.

“Investors will also be watching the number of COVID cases as rises in Western Europe and the Philippines see the return of renewed restrictions, while vaccination attempts threaten to stall amidst supply constraints and vaccine nationalism,” Tian said.

“While restrictions are increased in Europe, the UK will be relaxing stay-at-home rules.”

Wall Street on Monday pared early losses driven by the banking sector on fears that problems from the downfall of Archegos could spread throughout the banking sector.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.3%, the S&P 500 lost 0.09% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.6%.

Benchmark U.S. 10-year yields hit 1.7760%, their highest since January 2020.

In currencies, the dollar rose to its highest in a year against the yen, boosted by the spike in Treasury yields. The euro fell to $1.1751 against the dollar for the first time since Nov. 11.

Oil prices fell as the Suez Canal opened up after being blocked for days by a grounded supercarrier. Attention turned to an OPEC+ meeting this week, where the extension of supply curbs may be on the table amid new coronavirus pandemic lockdowns.