Asian markets under pressure as Wall St falters, Covid-19 cases rise

Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures slipped 0.4 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were down 0.59 per cent. — Reuters pic
Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures slipped 0.4 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were down 0.59 per cent. — Reuters pic

NEW YORK, Oct 20 — Asian stocks came under pressure on Tuesday as a deadline for US lawmakers to pass an economic stimulus bill approached and record daily coronavirus infections in Europe ignited concerns about more severe lockdowns.

In early Asia trade, Australian stocks dipped at the open while MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.06 per cent.

Chris Weston, the head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone, attributed the decline to worries about Washington’s stimulus package and positioning ahead of the November 3 US presidential election.

“Do you really want to hold those exposures into what could be a volatility event?” Weston said. “We’re getting into the Wild West territory where it becomes more whippy.”

Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures slipped 0.4 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were down 0.59 per cent.

Investors await earnings later in the week for companies including Netflix Inc and Tesla Inc

They were also waiting to see if the final debate between US President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Thursday shifts the trajectory of the election.

The number of new Covid-19 cases in the United States last week rose 13 per cent to more than 393,000, approaching levels last seen during a summer peak, according to a Reuters analysis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.44 per cent, the S&P 500 was 1.63 per cent lower and the Nasdaq Composite settled down 1.65 per cent.

The dollar edged lower on Monday as investors were cautiously optimistic that US lawmakers could agree on a fiscal stimulus package ahead of the elections, and that a coronavirus vaccine will be ready by year-end.

The dollar index fell 0.304 per cent, with the euro up 0.02 per cent to US$1.1768 (RM4.87).

Treasury yields pared earlier increases on Monday while oil prices dipped partly because Libya plans to boost output. — Reuters

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