Asia Stocks Set for Muted Open, Currencies Stable: Markets Wrap

Currencies were steady early Monday and Asian stocks looked set for a muted open after U.S. equities chalked another week of fresh gains. The dollar is trading near a two-year low against major peers.

In Japan, investors will be alert as the race to replace Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe gets underway. Chinese manufacturing data will give the latest reading on how the world’s second-largest economy is emerging from the coronavirus shutdown. The benchmark S&P 500 closed at an all-time high for a sixth consecutive trading session Friday, while the Nasdaq Composite also reached unseen levels. Treasuries rose.

Global equities have been on a tear as economies started to reemerge from virus shutdowns and central banks remained committed to providing liquidity to help a recovery. Chair Jerome Powell signaled on Thursday that the Federal Reserve will stay accommodative for longer through more tolerance toward consumer-price increases.

On the virus front, cases in the U.S. are ticking up again. India recorded its biggest daily spike as Covid-19 infections worldwide surpassed 25 million.

78,761 in IndiaMost new cases today

+2% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​011 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

5.​4% Global GDP Tracker (annualized), July


“While China has given important signs that its economy is recovering from the Covid-19 shock, doubts remain on the speed due to the lingering uncertainties regarding new waves of Covid-19 globally as well as the still hesitant consumption and poor labor market condition,” Alicia Garcia Herrero, chief Asia Pacific economist with Natixis SA, said in a note.

Meanwhile, tensions between the U.S. and China continue to simmer. In another development, ByteDance Ltd. will be required to seek Chinese government approval to sell the U.S. operations of its short-video TikTok app under new restrictions Beijing imposed on the export of artificial intelligence technologies.

Elsewhere, crude oil ended last week just below $43 a barrel as Hurricane Laura weakened while crossing over land in the refinery and LNG-rich Gulf of Mexico region.

Here are the main market moves:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 Index rose 0.7% Friday.
  • Nikkei 225 futures rose 0.2% as of Friday.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index futures fell 0.7% as of Friday.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index futures rose 0.2% as of Friday.

Currencies

  • The yen traded at 105.45 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan was at 6.8603 per dollar.
  • The euro was at $1.1901.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slumped 0.9% Friday.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined three basis points to 0.72%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude dipped 0.1% to $42.97 a barrel Friday.
  • Gold strengthened 1.8% to $1,964.83 an ounce

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