Asian stocks were steady Thursday and U.S. equity futures gained after the S&P 500 notched up another record on further evidence of the Federal Reserve’s commitment to supportive policy.
Japanese shares slipped amid concerns Tokyo is planning stricter steps to curb rising virus infections, while Australia and Hong Kong outperformed. U.S. and European equity futures climbed following modest gains in the S&P 500 Index amid dwindling volume on U.S. exchanges. Tech giants including Apple Inc. helped push up the Nasdaq 100. The dollar headed for its fifth decline in six sessions, while Treasuries stabilized.
The British pound snapped two days of losses after coming under pressure because of concerns relating to AstraZeneca Plc’s vaccine, on which the U.K. is heavily dependent. Growing worries that the shot causes rare blood clots could hinder immunization campaigns elsewhere in the world too.
Fed officials were united on the need to see more progress on the recovery before scaling back their massive bond-buying program, according to minutes from last month’s meeting released Wednesday. Policy makers have downplayed inflation risks, maintaining that the recent surge in Treasury yields reflects stronger growth prospects. Traders have scaled back their most-aggressive positioning for interest rates to start rising by the end of next year.