Asia stocks and U.S. futures were subdued Monday with investors weighing the pace of economic recovery against more potent Covid-19 strains and central banks mulling stimulus reductions. The dollar edged higher.
Southeast Asian markets underperformed, led by Malaysia, where a nationwide lockdown was extended. Australia was little changed despite a lockdown in Sydney to contain outbreaks of the highly contagious Delta strain. Japan fluctuated. Hong Kong dipped in a trading session delayed by a rain storm warning. European futures were little changed. The S&P 500 had its best week since February. Treasuries held losses.
Cryptocurrencies will be closely watched after the U.K. restricted an affiliate of crypto exchange Binance from doing business in the country. Bitcoin rose for a second day, trading in the mid-$30,000s range in Asia on Monday.
Global stocks are trading near a record high as anxiety about the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tilt eased, with investors dialing back concerns that U.S. policy makers will rush to boost interest rates despite mounting inflation pressures. Volatility receded, with the Cboe Volatility Index, or the VIX, sinking to pre-pandemic levels. Still, markets remain sensitive to more central banks debating the withdrawal of emergency stimulus.