Stocks

Asian stock markets drop as Chinese shares trade lower

Reuters | Updated on August 06, 2020 Published on August 06, 2020

The dollar languished and just about everything else rose on Thursday, as markets took patchy U.S. economic data as a harbinger of ever more stimulus and brinkmanship on Capitol Hill as a sign that a deal on a new U.S. stimulus package is close.

Following Wall Street's lead, MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan extended the week's rally by 0.3% to a fresh six-and-a-half-month high.

Japan's Nikkei index and Hang Seng were down 0.50 per cent and 1.15 per cent respectively in early session and Asian currencies were on the march, with the Australian dollar gaining to around 72 U.S. cents, and the Korean won and Malaysian ringgit touching their strongest since March.

S&P 500 futures firmed, oil rose and gold inched back toward a record high hit overnight.

“If it's got a pulse, people will buy it now,” said Rob Carnell, Asia-Pacific head of research at ING in Singapore.

He said it was clear the global recovery is not a “V-shaped” rebound, but markets are focused almost completely on the help that fiscal and monetary policymakers are providing, even if the next U.S. government package is likely to reduce spending from current levels.

Federal Reserve policymakers also encouraged lawmakers to provide more aid.

And in any case, plenty is on the way - with a modest selloff in the bond market after the U.S. Treasury flagged borrowing a gigantic $947 billion this quarter, about $270 billion more than it previously estimated.

The yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. government debt rose 3 basis points and was steady at 0.5445% on Thursday.

EARNINGS SURPRISE

Positive sentiment on Wall Street was further bolstered by company earnings, with a surprise quarterly profit from Walt Disney Co and a slew of upbeat healthcare results.

The Nasdaq minted a new record peak and closing high while the S&P 500 was up 0.6% and is less than 2% below its record high hit in February.

In Asia, it was Singaporean bank DBS bringing some cheer, with a shallower-than-feared plunge in second-quarter profit, helping shares in Southeast Asia's biggest lender gain.

Investors are watching a crucial Indian central bank meeting later on Thursday.

U.S. jobs data due at 1230 GMT provides the next read on the pace of hiring, while sterling also traded cautiously ahead of a Bank of England policy decision due at 0600 GMT.

No changes are expected but some traders are looking for a dovish tilt in language.

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Published on August 06, 2020
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