Asian markets set for shaky start amid mixed cues

Stocks futures were mixed in early Asian trade with e-mini for the S&P 500 down 0.19 per cent while with Japan's Nikkei 225 futures rose 0.2 per cent. — Reuters pic
Stocks futures were mixed in early Asian trade with e-mini for the S&P 500 down 0.19 per cent while with Japan's Nikkei 225 futures rose 0.2 per cent. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, July 1 ― Asian stocks were set for a bumpy start to the second half of the year today as optimism about a global economic recovery from the pandemic jousted with signs in the United States the health crisis may not yet be past its peak.

Stocks futures were mixed in early Asian trade with e-mini for the S&P 500 down 0.19 per cent while with Japan's Nikkei 225 futures rose 0.2 per cent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures lost 0.42 per cent and Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures were down 0.1 per cent.

The highest ranking US medical official, Anthony Fauci, forecast dire consequences for the world's largest economy if cities did not re-embrace masks and social distancing measures as Covid-19 cases surged around the country.

Despite these concerns, growing cases in the US are unlikely to rock markets the same way the initial outbreak did in March, Capital Economics analyst Franziska Palmas said in a note.

“Central bank backstops put in place in March have been essential in preserving calm in money markets,” the note read.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell yesterday pledged to do more for the US economy as it battles the enormous fallout from the virus outbreak.

That assurance helped push Wall Street higher to close out the best quarterly rebound in nearly two decades, and pushed the safe-haven dollar slightly lower.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.04 per cent as the S&P 500 gained 1.54 per cent.

The dollar index fell 0.04 per cent, with the euro up 0.02 per cent to US$1.1233 (RM4.8097).

The Bank of Japan, meanwhile, released a new schedule for bond purchases yesterday, which signaled the monetary authority would not be more aggressive on longer maturity bonds.

Still, gold prices rallied as some investors fled to safety after Fauci's warning that the US daily case-load could reach 100,000 from the current 40,000.

US gold futures settled up 1.1 per cent at US$1,800.5.

Oil prices slumped after Libya’s state oil company said it made progress in talks to resume exports, potentially boosting supply.

US crude was down 43 cents, or 1 per cent, at US$39.27 a barrel.

Longer US Treasuries rose during yesterday trading as investors rebalanced their portfolio to round out the first half of the year.

The benchmark 10-year yield was last up 1.7 basis points at 0.6528 per cent. ― Reuters

Related Articles