HONG KONG, April 7, (AFP): Asian markets were mixed Wednesday as investors took a breather following a recent run-up, though another round of healthy data provided cause for continued optimism over the global recovery.
President Joe Biden gave cause to cheer by saying all adults in the United States would be eligible for a vaccine by April 19, almost two weeks earlier than previously pledged, reinforcing hope that the world's biggest economy will get back on its feet more quickly.
That came as California's governor said he aims to fully reopen the most populous US state by the middle of June if the current pace of inoculations continues.
In a further sign the United States was bouncing back, officials said job openings had surged to a two-year high in February, well above the level expected by most analysts.
That followed last week's forecast-busting employment report and data showing a strong pick-up in the manufacturing and key services sector.
The string of healthy data -- along with Biden's $1.9 trillion stimulus and $2.25 trillion infrastructure proposal -- have helped world markets climb to record or multi-month highs.
Recent concerns that the recovery and expected spending splurge will fan inflation and force central banks to lift interest rates have eased for now, with benchmark 10-year US Treasury yields dipping.
The International Monetary Fund backed up the view of a strong rebound by hiking its 2021 growth forecast for the second time in three months, predicting a 6.0 percent expansion, from its 5.5 percent prior estimate.
"Early signs show the recovery is accelerating, suggesting a faster return to 'normal' than many had dared to hope a few months ago," said JP Morgan Asset Management's David Kelly.
"While this is very good news in general, it brings with it challenges for investors in making sure their portfolios are positioned for the very different financial landscape of a post-pandemic world."