HONG KONG: Asian stocks slipped Friday as investors weighed signs of progress in the fight against the coronavirus versus mounting data showing the severity of the impact on economies, reported Bloomberg.
Benchmarks were down from Tokyo and Seoul to Shanghai and Hong Kong, though Sydney gained. Futures on the S&P 500 fell after the index erased a 1.6% gain Thursday to end little changed. Global stocks have snapped two weeks of gains this week as optimism about slowing infection rates in some locations faded in face of poor economic data. Treasuries added to recent gains, while oil prices continued to mend after their early-week collapse.
“There is a long list of pretty jaw-dropping data, just in the last 24 hours,” Nerida Cole, managing director at Dixon Advisory, said on Bloomberg TV. “Market pricing is certainly on the optimistic side — that it will be a rosy path out of this crisis — and that’s where investors do need to be quite careful.”
Recent data from the U.S. showed total job losses now exceed 26 million amid the shutdowns across the country. An estimate of private-sector activity in the euro area plunged to the lowest since it began more than two decades ago.
In China, there was limited reaction to the central bank’s partial roll-over of maturing medium-term funding to banks, at a lower interest rate.
Hurting sentiment in the Thursday session on Wall Street was a report that Gilead Sciences Inc.’s antiviral drug remdesivir flopped in its first randomized clinical trial — though the company disputed that characterization.
Japanese bonds rallied after a Nikkei report that the Bank of Japan may replace its government bond-purchase target to allow for unlimited buying.
These were the main moves in markets:
- Futures on the S&P 500 fell 0.5% as of 1:08 p.m. in Tokyo. The S&P 500 closed little changed on Thursday.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng retreated 0.3%.
- The Shanghai Composite lost 0.6%.
- Japan’s Topix index fell 0.3%.
- South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.7%.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.6%.
- Euro Stoxx 50 futures slid 2.3%.
- The yen was at 107.66 per dollar, little changed.
- The offshore yuan traded at 7.0932 per dollar.
- The euro bought $1.0773.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped one basis points to 0.59%.
- Australia’s 10-year yield was at 0.89%, up one basis point.
- West Texas Intermediate crude rose 7.9% to $17.79 a barrel.
- Gold fell 0.3% to $1,724.88 an ounce.