* Asian scholarships: tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
* Asia index excluding Japan + 0.7%, Nikkei rebounds by 2.1%
* US 10-year yields dip 1.41% from last week’s peak of 1.61%
* US stimulus bill moving forward, with J&J vaccine due on Tuesday
* Oil prices rise again ahead of OPEC meeting
SYDNEY, March 1 (Reuters) – Asian stocks rebounded on Monday as a semblance of calm returned to bond markets after last week’s mad rush, as progress on the massive US stimulus package supported optimism about the global economy and pushed up oil prices.
China’s official manufacturing PMI over the weekend missed forecasts, but Japanese figures showed the fastest growth in two years. Investors are also counting on bullish news from a series of US data due this week, including the February payroll report.
New deliveries of the newly approved Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine are expected to begin on Tuesday.
The largest MSCI index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside of Japan edged up 0.8%, after losing 3.7% last Friday.
Japan’s Nikkei advanced 2.1%, while Chinese blue chips added 0.5%.
NASDAQ futures rebounded 1.2% and S&P 500 futures rebounded 0.9%. EUROSTOXX 50 futures and FTSE futures both rose 1.1%.
US 10-year bond yields fell to 1.41%, from last week’s high of 1.61%, although they still ended last week 11 basis points higher and were in up 50 basis points over the year so far.
“The Friday bond moves always appear to be a pause for the air, rather than the catalyst for a move towards calmer waters,” said Rodrigo Catril, a senior quarterback at NAB.
“Market participants remain nervous about the prospect of higher inflation as economies seek to reopen through vaccine rollouts, high levels of savings as well as strong fiscal and monetary support.”
BofA analysts noted that the bear market for bonds is now one of the most severe on record with the annualized price return on 10-year U.S. government bonds down 29% from last August, Australia losing 19%, the United Kingdom 16% and Canada 10%.
The rout owes a lot to expectations of faster growth in the United States, with the House passing President Joe Biden’s $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package, sending it to the Senate.
BofA U.S. economist Michelle Meyer has raised her forecast for economic growth to 6.5% this year and 5% next, due to the likelihood of a bigger stimulus package, better news on the virus front and encouraging data.
Cases of the virus have also declined by 72% since the peak on Jan.12, and hospitalizations follow closely behind, BofA added.
The rise in US yields combined with the general transition to safety helped the dollar index rebound to 90.917 from a seven week low at 89.677.
On Monday, the euro was flat at $ 1.2086, from last week’s high of $ 1.2242, while the dollar held near a six-month high against the yen at 106.57.
“Riskier” currencies and those exposed to commodities rebounded somewhat after taking a beating late last week, with Australian and Canadian dollars rising and emerging markets from Brazil to Turkey appearing more stable.
Unproductive gold was still fueling losses after hitting an eight-month low on Friday en route to its worst month since November 2016. It was last at $ 1,743 an ounce, just above a low of approximately $ 1,716.
Oil prices extended their gains ahead of an OPEC meeting this week where supply could be increased. Brent gained 4.8% last week and WTI 3.8%, when both were about 20% higher from February as a whole.
Brent was last up $ 1.27 to $ 65.69, while US crude rose $ 1.22 to $ 62.72 per barrel.
Edited by Shri Navaratnam