Trade optimism continues to fuel investor sentiment, pushing US equities higher as markets reopen after the Christmas break. China's Commerce Ministry signaled on Thursday that the US and China are in close touch and are going through the necessary procedures before the signing of their phase one trade agreement. Amazon drove the S&P500 and Nasdaq higher after a report from Mastercard signalled that online sales has been strong during the holidays. Amazon gained 4.45% on the day, pushing the Nasdaq above the 9,000-resistance level.
The continued optimism on trade put downward pressure on the greenback and pushed trade sensitive currencies higher on Thursday. Stirling gained for the third session in a row, recovering slightly after falling four out of five sessions last week thanks to renewed worries for a no-deal Brexit.
Meanwhile safe haven assets were mixed on Thursday. Gold broke past US$1,500 on Thursday likely as investors hedge against the risk of downside potential in equity markets as stocks reach record levels. US treasury yields were mixed as well, as two-year yields gained while 10-year and 30-year yields fell on Thursday.
In Asia, stocks started Friday's trading session mixed, with the Nikkei, Hang Seng Index and Straits Times Index opening the day 0.12%, 0.61% and 0.12% higher while the KOSPI was 0.65% lower. Major Asian indices were mostly in the green later in the morning.
Trading volumes were at roughly 4.5bn on Thursday in the US, below the daily average of 6.5bn over the last 20 trading days and should remain thin moving into next week as we approach 2020.