ASIA STOCKS IN SLUGGISH START AFTER WALL STREET RETREATS
Asian equities were set for a sluggish open on Wednesday, tracking a lower Wall Street session as concerns over rising coronavirus cases and fresh lockdowns dampened the euphoria from vaccine trial breakthroughs, Chibuike Oguh reported for Reuters.
A skittish mood swept investors as several US states began restricting gatherings and mandated face-coverings after more than 70,000 Americans were hospitalized for treatment of COVID-19 as of Monday, according to a Reuters tally of public health figures.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures fell 0.35%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 were up 0.4% in early trading. Also weighing on sentiment was US data on Tuesday that showed retail sales increased less than forecast in October, with the potential for even further slowing. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.56%, the S&P 500 lost 0.48%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.21%.
US Treasury yields fell in the wake of the retail sales report as it underscored the possibility of a slowdown in the fourth quarter. Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 11/32 in price to yield 0.8701%, from 0.906% late on Monday. The US dollar hit its lowest level in a week, with expectations for continued weakness on expectations for more fiscal and monetary stimulus as well as optimism over a potential vaccine. The dollar index fell 0.082%, with the euro up 0.08% to $1.1862. The offshore Chinese yuan rose to its highest since June 2018 against the dollar, as positive economic data in the world’s second-largest economy buoys the currency.