Asian stocks were broadly steady Thursday after U.S. shares moved in narrow ranges as traders digested commentary from Federal Reserve officials on the outlook for stimulus. Treasuries held a retreat.
Stocks were little changed in Japan, climbed in Hong Kong and edged lower in China, where the central bank increased its injection of short-term cash into the financial system. U.S. futures advanced, following a modest drop in the S&P 500 despite gains among firms that benefit from economic reopening. A rally in Tesla Inc. helped the Nasdaq Composite eke out another record. The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield remained below 1.50%.
Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan, who’s penciled in a rate hike next year, said the economy will likely meet the Fed’s threshold for tapering asset purchases sooner than people think. His Atlanta counterpart Raphael Bostic said the central bank could decide to slow such purchases in the next few months. Neither are currently voting members of the Fed’s rate setting committee.
The dollar was little changed, while the yen held a slump, in part as the rebound from the pandemic dents the allure of haven currencies. Traders were monitoring for any impact from news that the U.S. is poised to bar some solar products made in the Xinjiang region over alleged human rights abuses.
European stocks fluctuated while U.S. futures edged lower a day after reaching record highs as optimism over coronavirus vaccines waned. Yields on Treasuries and German bunds held most of Tuesday’s spike.
Pro-cyclical sectors including autos and chemicals led declines on the Stoxx Europe 600 Index. Britain’s pound reversed a gain after the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier reportedly told envoys the outcome is still too close to call.
Shares traded mixed in Asia, where China’s No. 2 smartphone maker Xiaomi Corp. dropped the most ever after disclosing a share sale. The offshore yuan erased gains after president-elect Joe Biden told the New York Times he won’t soon remove tariffs on Chinese goods. Gold rose for a second day.
SYDNEY/NEW YORK, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Asian share markets opened slightly higher on Tuesday buoyed by the prospect of a COVID-19 vaccine, reversing the previous day’s dips as investors took profits at the end of a record-breaking month.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.26% on Tuesday after closing the month 9% higher, the best November since 2001. Japan’s Nikkei and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 were each 0.9% higher, while South Korea was up 1.4%.
China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was 0.72% higher on Tuesday, after data on Monday that pointed to a continued recovery in the world’s second-largest economy against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’ve seen clearly a huge wave of liquidity coming to equities in response to the vaccine news and in response to U.S. election news,” said Hamish Tadgell, a portfolio manager at SG Hiscock & Company.
U.S. stock index futures fell late Thursday, leaving Wall Street on track for another week of losses. As of 9 p.m. Eastern, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures YM00, -1.21% were down more than 200 points, or 1%, while S&P 500 futures ES00, -1.17% and Nasdaq-100 futures NQ00, -1.20% slipped as well. Earlier, stocks gained in the regular session, with the Dow DJIA, +2.24% closing up more than 2% as President Donald Trump hinted at imminent production curbs by feuding oil giants Saudi Arabia and Russia. But investors may be bracing for Friday’s March jobs report, which is expected to be ugly though not fully indicative of the massive job losses caused by businesses shutting down due to the coronavirus pandemic. On Thursday, data showed that unemployment applications last week soared to a record 6.6 million.
Markets fell in early Wednesday trading in Asia as investors digested a steady drip of worrying news about the economic ramifications of the global coronavirus outbreak.
Major indexes in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea were modestly lower midday, as financial markets settled into a slow grind of bad news. While the panic of recent weeks appeared to have subsided, numerous signs pointed to glum prospects for a quick recovery.
After Wall Street’s Tuesday close, President Trump said at a news conference that the United States would face “a very painful, very very painful two weeks.” U.S. government scientists projected that the outbreak could kill up to 240,000 Americans.
Futures markets predicted Europe and the United States would open lower later on Wednesday. Prices for long-term U.S. Treasury bonds, a traditional investment safe haven, rose, as did gold futures. Oil prices were mixed.