Asian stocks were on course to follow their U.S. peers with modest declines amid concern that a resurgence in coronavirus cases could slow the global economic recovery. Treasuries jumped.
Equity futures pointed lower in Japan, Hong Kong and Australia. Contracts on the S&P 500 Index were flat after the gauge fell 0.6% on Thursday, with financial firms among the worst performers as Wells Fargo & Co. prepared to cut thousands of jobs because of the pandemic. Still, the tech-heavy Nasdaq advanced to a fresh record high. Longer-dated Treasuries rose following an auction for 30-year securities that showed strong demand.
The start of Chinese trading will be in focus Friday as the Shanghai Composite makes a bid for a ninth day of gains amid signals of official support and strong demand from retail traders.
Analysts are closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. and across the world, with record deaths in Florida and California seen as ominous signs. While optimists are betting that fiscal and monetary support will contain the fallout and cited jobs data Thursday that came in better than expected, others pointed out that the labor market is still treacherous.
“Sentiment clearly took a turn negative today, and the buildup of Covid-19 concerns seems to be the biggest issue,” said Larry Milstein, senior managing director of government debt trading at R.W. Pressprich & Co. Given that cases are also rising in Asia, “there’s a real concern that a second wave is approaching that will impact the global economy.”
Elsewhere, oil traded below $40 a barrel and gold edged lower.
Here are some key events coming up:
- Singapore holds its general election on Friday.
These are the main moves in markets:
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.1% as of 7:14 a.m. in Tokyo. The index fell 0.6% on Thursday.
- Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 declined 0.5%.
- Hang Seng futures slipped 0.8%.
- Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.4%.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.2%.
- The yen was at 107.23 per dollar.
- The euro bought $1.1284.
- The offshore yuan was at 6.9979 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell about five basis points to 0.61%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude added 0.1% to $39.65 a barrel.
- Gold was at $1,802.79 an ounce.
— With assistance by Charlie Zhu, Amanda Wang, Vildana Hajric, and Vivien Lou Chen
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