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Stocks lose steam after Wall Street’s rally, while oil rises ahead of Russia-OPEC meeting
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Stocks lose steam after Wall Street’s rally, while oil rises ahead of Russia-OPEC meeting

NEW YORK: Asian markets and US stock futures are mixed Thursday, backing away from an overnight rally on Wall Street as investors continue to assess the coronavirus pandemic. Oil futures, meanwhile, are rising ahead of a meeting between Russia and OPEC to discuss production cuts.

There was some strength in Asia Pacific: Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 1.9%, South Korea’s Kospi (KOSPI) rose 1.2%, and India’s Sensex (SENSEX) advanced 2.3%.

But trading in Hong Kong and mainland China was far more muted. The Hang Seng (HSI) added 0.7%, while the Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) was up just 0.3%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 (N225) was the regional outlier, trading down 0.4%.

“Asia clearly prefers to sit on the side-lines today, an eminently sensible strategy given the event-risk ahead,” wrote Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia Pacific at Oanda, in a research note.

US stock futures, meanwhile, were mixed amid choppy trade. Dow (INDU) futures inched higher, while futures for the S&P 500 (INX) and Nasdaq (COMP) gave back early gains.

Wall Street rallied Wednesday on rising optimism that the coronavirus spread in hot spot countries is slowing. The Dow finished up 3.4%, or 780 points, closing above 23,000 points for the first time in nearly a month. The S&P 500 closed 3.4% higher. The Nasdaq ended the day up 2.6%.

Johns Hopkins University changed the trending status for the United States to “down” on Wednesday, because of changes in the five-day moving average of new cases of the coronavirus. The data could change as more cases are reported.

More than 430,000 people in the United States have been infected with coronavirus, and more than 14,700 have died.

Oil prices, meanwhile, are rising ahead of Thursday’s meeting between Russia and OPEC. The meeting, which was called by Saudi Arabia, comes after US President Donald Trump suggested that massive production cuts could be on the way and Saudi Arabia called for an “urgent” effort to restore “balance” to the oil market.

US oil futures jumped 3.5% to trade at $25.96 a barrel, following a 6.2% surge on Wednesday. Brent crude, the world oil benchmark, also traded 1.5% higher at $33.34 a barrel. Prices settled up 3% on Wednesday.