• Pandemic worries sidestepped as economic numbers give hope.
  • China services eyed after manufacturing’s strength.
  • The Australia services sector expands.

US indices rose yesterday, except the small-cap Russell 2000, ahead of the all-important Georgia Senate elections. Tech-laden Nasdaq Composite surged by 0.95 Percent leading the broad rally in which S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average also finished in the green.

The risk-on global sentiments assisted the US equities even with the possibility of the political developments dampening fiscal stimulus hopes, especially if Georgia favours the Republicans.

The US’s economic numbers also helped the mood; the December ISM PMI data showed the manufacturing sector performing above analysts’ expectations, calming worries over the impact of the rising coronavirus cases on the US economy.

The pandemic rages across the US and the daily cases’ seven-day average is now at 211k, Covid Tracking Project data says. The surge in the number of patients has forced many US states to tighten the restrictions; in California, the US Army Corps of Engineers has been deployed to tide over a critical shortage of oxygen.

Major Global Themes

In Europe, the restrictions are being increased to fight the new variant of the coronavirus.

The Georgia verdict and Caixin Chinese PMIs will impact today’s Asia-Pacific markets. The Chinese manufacturing activity continued its growth in December, albeit slowly than earlier. Traders will eye the PMI for clues regarding last month’s private services industry performance, and a print above 50 might assist the Yuan.

Australian services sector showed an expansion, with Markit Economics December’s PMI final figure at 57.0. AUD will now await retail sales data next week along with the Westpac Consumer Confidence Index.

At the time of writing, one Australian dollar buys 0.7812 US dollars, up 0.71% as of 10:19 AM UTC.