(Adds European futures and updates the levels continuously)
* Asian stock markets: https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
* The stock markets in China and Japan are reversing early losses
* Bitcoin is making up for losses after falling 14% on Sunday
* Currencies hit water, US dollars near 4-week lows
From Swati Pandey
SYDNEY, April 19 (Reuters). Asian stocks hit a monthly high on Monday. This is supported by the expectation that monetary policy will remain accommodative around the world, while the introduction of COVID-19 vaccines alleviates fears of another dangerous wave of coronavirus infections.
The indicators were also positive for Europe: the futures for Eurostoxx 50 rose by 0.2% and the German DAX by 0.1%, while the indicators for London’s FTSE hardly changed.
MSCI’s broadest index for stocks in the Asia-Pacific region outside of Japan hit 699.70, a level not seen since March 18. Most recently it rose 0.1% to 696.46.
The index rose 1.2% last week and is up 5.1% this year on its way to its third straight annual gain.
“The extremely supportive monetary and fiscal environment continues to provide a fertile environment for risk-weighted assets,” said Rodrigo Catril, senior forex strategist at National Australia Bank.
Australian stocks were unchanged from Friday’s close, while the New Zealand benchmark index rose 0.6% and the South Korean KOSPI rose 0.1%. The Japanese Nikkei turned its losses around and ended up flat.
Chinese stocks that started in negative territory offset losses, with the blue-chip index gaining 2.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.6%.
On Friday, the S&P 500 gained 0.4% to hit a new record high while making its sixth straight weekly profit. The Dow closed 0.5%, also at a record high, while the Nasdaq rose 0.1%.
Profits are unlikely to expand any further if the e-mini futures for the S&P 500 fall 0.2%.
This week got off to a quiet start as there are no major data releases planned for Monday.
Investors will be on the lookout for IBM and Coca-Cola earnings later in the day. Netflix reported Tuesday, while American Airlines and Southwest will be the first major post-COVID cyclics to release results later in the week.
The European Central Bank (ECB) meets on Thursday with no changes in interest rates or guidelines expected. Preliminary data on global factory activity for April is due on Friday.
Elsewhere, Bitcoin, the world’s largest cryptocurrency, reversed its losses after falling as much as 14% on Sunday after speculation. The U.S. Treasury Department could try to combat money laundering activities in digital assets, said NAB’s Catril.
Data website CoinMarketCap cited a power outage in China’s Xinjiang region for the sell-off, which is reported to have had a lot of Bitcoin being mined.
The withdrawal in Bitcoin also comes after Turkey’s central bank banned the use of cryptocurrencies for purchases on Friday.
Bitcoin recently gained 1%. It’s up more than 90% since the start of the year, driven by widespread adoption as an investment and currency, accompanied by the rush of retail cash into stocks, exchange-traded funds, and other risky assets.
In currencies, the US dollar remained near a four-week low versus a basket of currencies as investors increasingly insisted that the Federal Reserve insist on maintaining an accommodative policy stance for a while.
The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a six-currency basket, was unchanged at 91.567, not far from its lowest level since March 18 on Friday.
Against the Japanese yen, the greenback fell 0.2% to 108.52. The euro was slightly lower at $ 1.1964 while the British pound gained 0.2% to $ 1.3854.
The risk sensitive Australian dollar rose to $ 0.7740.
In commodities, oil prices fell, with Brent falling 22 cents to $ 66.55 a barrel and US crude oil falling 19 cents to $ 62.94.
Gold rose a bit, by $ 1,776.7 an ounce.
(Editing by Michael Perry and Sam Holmes)