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Stocks mostly higher on economic recovery hopes

LONDON (AFP/APP): Record-breaking stock markets mostly rose further Monday, supported by economic recovery hopes, while focus was firmly on the game of football as Europe’s wealthiest clubs seek to form a breakaway Super League.

Among the dozen football clubs looking to form their own tournament, shares in the publicly-listed Italian side Juventus and England’s Manchester United both jumped.

“The financial incentive for the clubs is plain to see, with a multi-billion dollar package at the heart of the scheme, albeit it would forever break the integrity of the club game,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.

Elsewhere on markets, bitcoin steadied around $57,000 after diving more than 15 percent at one point over the weekend after reports that the US Treasury could crack down on digital money laundering, according to NAB analyst Rodrigo Catril.
Bitcoin hit a record high above $62,000 last week ahead of the Wall Street debut of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, despite concerns about a bubble and the sustainability of the digital currency market.

The dollar slid Monday versus its main rivals.

On stock markets, Shanghai finished 1.5 percent up and Hong Kong ended 0.5 percent higher, despite China’s first-quarter economic growth data skating under market expectations at the end of last week.

European markets were mostly up approaching the half-way stage.

“Markets are broadly upbeat about the prospects for the global economic recovery ahead of a full week of corporate earnings and the ECB rate decision on Thursday,” noted Sophie Griffiths, analyst at Oanda trading group.

“There have been some impressive moves on the stock markets and now investors want to see these backed up by data.”

Both the Dow and S&P finished at new peaks on Friday and also posted their fourth consecutive weekly gains, following on the heels of strong data for American housing starts, employment and retail sales.

Investors are banking on accelerated US pandemic containment efforts marking a step toward economic normalcy, with half of all adults in the country now having had at least one vaccine dose.

The easing of restrictions in Europe has also boosted optimism even as analysts keep a wary eye on alarming outbreaks prompted by new strains of the virus elsewhere in the world.

Tokyo’s main stocks index finished Monday flat after a lacklustre session, with investors searching for new purchase cues.

Market sentiment in Japan has been hamstrung by a slow-moving vaccination programme, though Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga hinted Monday that the country should have enough vaccines for all citizens over 16 by September.

“The market remained cautious as we can’t be optimistic about the latest situation of infections at home and overseas,” Yoshihiro Okumura of Chibagin Asset Management told AFP.

Mumbai shed more than two percent after officials announced a snap lockdown in India’s capital New Delhi.

Indian authorities have been scrambling to free up hospital beds and secure additional supplies of oxygen and treatment drugs after another record daily caseload.