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Global stocks made solid gains Monday, staging a comeback after last week's selloff, as attention shifted to upcoming manufacturing data for signs of whether the surge in Delta variant cases is slowing global economic recovery as feared.
In US stocks, futures linked to the S&P 500 were up 0.33%, Dow Jones futures gained 0.43%, and Nasdaq futures inched 0.27% higher as of 6:30 am E.T. on Monday. Oil futures were also taking back some of last week's losses.
The spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant is still niggling nerves, as global cases rise for the ninth consecutive week, according to Johns Hopkins data. Outbreaks intensified over the weekend in Australia and New Zealand intensified over the weekend, which were widely seen as having contained the virus.
As concerns grow about recent waves' impact on the strength of the economic recovery, investors are watching preliminary data on monthly manufacturing activity in several countries out Monday. PMI data for Japan and Australia showed a contraction as COVID-19 cases surged. The US flash Purchasing Managers Index data for August is due later today.
Major Asian stock markets closed higher Monday, coming back from a sharp fall last week, after China said it hadn't had a new local case of coronavirus, the first time that has happened since July. The Shanghai Composite rose 1.45%, and Hong Kong's Hang Seng index gained 1.07%. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 ended 1.78% higher.
Oil recovered some of the losses made last week alongside other commodities, boosted by a weaker US dollar. Analysts suggested investors are now looking ahead to the OPEC+ meeting on September 1.
"Prior to the recent selloff, the market would have likely placed not much focus on this meeting, with production policy set until the end of the year. However, with the recent weakness in prices, the market will now be eagerly waiting to see if the group decides to delay some of its easing in cuts," ING analysts said in a note.
Attention is also on the Federal Reserve's symposium in Jackson Hole, which is set to begin Thursday. Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to speak on Friday.
"The big question is what Powell might say about a potential timeline for when the Fed could begin to taper their asset purchases," Deutsche Bank analysts said. "Our US economists are of the view that Powell's speech on Friday will largely mirror his remarks at the press conference following the July FOMC meeting, as well as in the minutes, and so are not expecting a strong signal with respect to the Fed's next gathering in September."
Cryptocurrencies marched higher over the weekend, and bitcoin topped the psychological $50,000 mark on Sunday for the first time in three months. Bitcoin stood $50,120.60 per coin, up 1.67% in the 24 hours to 06:42 a.m. ET on Monday.
European markets edged higher in the early going Monday. London's FTSE 100 was up 0.5%, Frankfurt's DAX gained 0.25%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 climbed 0.64%. A slew of preliminary manufacturing and services data was released throughout Europe on Monday with mixed results.
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