Stocks, oil and risk currencies, including bitcoin, gained on Tuesday as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden got the formal go-ahead to begin his transition to the White House.
The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose 3% to near its record high, leading a surge in risk appetite as the European STOXX 600 index climbed 0.6% and Brent crude rose to its highest level since March at $46.52 a barrel. Safe-haven assets such as gold fell.
After weeks of legal challenges to the election results, U.S. General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy wrote to Biden on Monday informing him the formal handover process could begin.
President Donald Trump tweeted that he had told his team “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols”, an indication he was moving towards a transition.
“Markets have been constrained by very high levels of uncertainty on the U.S. political front and around vaccines for weeks, so with those two going away investors are considering the prospect of a return to normality in 2021,” said Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays.
Reports that Biden plans to nominate former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen to become the next Treasury Secretary further boosted U.S. stocks on expectations she would pursue more conventional policies than the departing Steven Mnuchin.
Futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.8% in European trading hours, putting the 49-country MSCI world stocks index on course to set a record high later.
Later on Tuesday, Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are expected to formally introduce their appointments to critical national security and foreign policy positions in Wilmington, Delaware.
Japan’s Nikkei jumped 2.5% to its highest level since May 1991 overnight, with energy, real estate and financial shares leading the advance.
Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan had ticked up 0.4%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was 1.26% stronger, touching its highest level in almost nine months, with energy stocks leading the pack there.
Chinese blue chips were an outlier among positive Asian shares, edging down 0.6%, as investors booked profits following recent strong gains.