Asian stocks dropped Thursday after shares tumbled in the U.S. and Europe, as rising coronavirus infections and tougher lockdowns added to worries about the economic hit from the pandemic. U.S. futures rebounded from the worst of the overnight declines.
Losses were more modest across Asia than in the American session, with shares in Australia faring worst and those in China rising. S&P 500 contracts climbed about 1% after the benchmark lost 3.5% Wednesday — its biggest drop since June. European futures also gained. The dollar gave back some of its overnight advance and 10-year Treasury yields held around 0.78%. Oil was steady after tumbling more than 5% on concern rising infections will sap demand.
In China, nearly 1,000 firms are releasing third-quarter earnings on Thursday, with traders looking to see if the results confirm the nation’s accelerating recovery. The yen held a small decline after the Bank of Japan kept its key interest rate and asset purchases unchanged.
An MSCI gauge of global equities is down almost 5% this week as virus cases surge, and after American lawmakers failed to agree on an economic aid package before the Nov. 3 election. Germany and France are imposing stricter lockdowns, while Italy, Spain and the U.K. all reported record case numbers on Wednesday.
“Market sentiment is turning with investors buffeted by U.S. election uncertainty and now economic worries from rising Covid-19 cases across Europe,” said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “These short-term forces are well beyond the control of individual investors, underscoring the need to maintain balance through the immediate uncertainty.”
Elsewhere, the pound gained as European Union and U.K. negotiators made progress toward resolving some of the biggest disagreements, raising hopes that a Brexit deal could be reached by early November. The European Central Bank’s policy decision is due later Thursday, with the new coronavirus lockdowns by the euro zone’s biggest economies boosting the chance of preemptive monetary stimulus.
These are some events to watch this week:
Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank briefings from Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and President Christine Lagarde will follow policy decisions on Thursday.The Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee holds its plenum through Friday, where it’s expected to chart the course for the economy’s development for the next 15 years.Brexit negotiating teams have started intense daily talks, and these are likely to continue as both sides push to finalize a deal by the middle of November.The first reading of U.S. third-quarter GDP Thursday is anticipated to be the strongest on record following a record dive in the prior quarter as many businesses were shuttered by the pandemic.
Here are the main moves in markets:
S&P 500 Index futures added 1.1% as of 3 p.m. in Tokyo. The gauge dropped 3.5% on Wednesday.Japan’s Topix index fell 0.1%.South Korea’s Kospi index was down 0.8%.Hang Seng Index fell 0.8%.Shanghai Composite rose 0.3%.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index retreated 1.6%.Euro Stoxx 50 futures rose 0.7%.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.1%.The yen fell 0.1% to 104.40 per dollar.The offshore yuan gained 0.3% to 6.7087 per dollar.The euro bought $1.1754.The British pound rose 0.3% to $1.3018.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries was at 0.78%, up one basis point.Australia’s 10-year yield rose more than three basis points to 0.82%.
West Texas Intermediate crude was at $37.49 a barrel, up 0.3%.Gold rose 0.3% to $1,883.05 an ounce.
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