Asian stocks began the week on a mostly positive note after earnings and Chinese economic data eased concerns about a slowdown in global growth, leaving the region’s shares on course for a fresh six-month high. Chinese and Japanese shares posted the largest gains Monday, with equities in Hong Kong and South Korea also higher.
Positive sentiment spilt into Asia after the S&P 500 Index on Friday climbed to within 1% of reaching a new all-time high. Australian bonds fell, tracking the drop in Treasuries prior to the weekend. The dollar steadied with Treasuries and oil started the week with a modest decline.
With Chinese trade and lending data showing signs of improvement for the world’s second-biggest economy, investors are now looking for the earnings season to confirm the resilience of corporate America in the face of numerous headwinds. Up next are Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc. and Bank of America Corp. There’s also signs the U.S. and China are getting closer to a trade deal, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin saying enforcement mechanisms could work “in both directions.”
Meanwhile, President Donald Trump renewed his attack on the Federal Reserve over the weekend, saying the stock market would be “5000 to 10,000” points higher had it not been for the actions of the U.S. central bank. Elsewhere, finance chiefs and central banks stand ready to "act promptly" to shore up growth amid a multitude of downside risks, according to a communique from the International Monetary Fund’s main advisory panel.
Oil started the week on a softer note, after completing its sixth straight week of gains Friday, with a report showing increased US oil-rig activity taking some of the heat out of the rally.