The domestic market may end the week on a positive note after better-than-expected US jobs data meant investors overlooked the rising number of US covid-19 cases, for now.
Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 4.8 million in June, and the unemployment rate declined by 2.2 percentage points to 11.1 per cent, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Economists had expected a lift of 3.0 million jobs.
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"These improvements reflect the continued resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it," said bureau commissioner William Beach in a statement.
He noted, however, total nonfarm employment has fallen by 14.7 million, or 9.6 per cent, from February.
The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 indices were up 0.5 per cent at 8am in Wellington while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.4 per cent.
Domestically, investors may continue to focus on Kathmandu Holdings after it detailed a strong sales recovery over the past six weeks.
Jarden analysts Andrew Steele and Lily Zhuang lifted their 12-month target price nearly 11 per cent to $1.55 after yesterday's announcement. Shares in Kathmandu closed at $1.27 yesterday.
The wildcard continues to be concerns about the rising number of new covid-19 cases of infection in the US, where there are now 2.8 million cases.
"So long as the US economy continues to recover, and the recent spike in coronavirus cases there does not lead to renewed widespread lockdowns, we think that equities will make further gains," said Capital Economics economist Simona Gambarini.
However, record spikes in covid-19 cases in states such as Arizona, California, Florida and Texas, have seen renewed restrictions on activity – in particular, ahead of the July 4 long weekend.
McDonald's this week, for example, announced it was pausing its US reopening plans for 21 days for dine-in services while beaches in parts of Florida and California have been closed.
The New Zealand dollar, however, also benefited from the improving sentiment after the positive jobs data and was trading at 65.14 US cents at 8am in Wellington from 64.93 US cents at 5pm yesterday.
"Kiwi continues to play follow-the-leader with global risk, strengthening further overnight and breaking through the 0.6500 resistance level to be sitting comfortably above 0.6510 – until, that is, the next move in global sentiment carries it away," said ANZ senior economist Miles Workman.