Asian Stocks Decline; U.S. Rises After Deep Rout: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — Stocks in Asia fell in heavy trading Wednesday after another epic rout on Wall Street, while U.S. futures rose and the yen dipped, taking back some of their strong recent moves.

The won fell toward its weakest since 2016 after South Korea reported a further escalation in coronavirus cases. Stock benchmarks were down more than 1% in Seoul and Tokyo, though came off their lows of the session. Hong Kong and Shanghai saw smaller drops. The S&P 500 Index fell 3% overnight, in its worst two-day slide since 2015. Ten-year Treasury yields held near Tuesday’s record low. The offshore yuan was flat, and the yen gave up some recent gains.

South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, said its national total for coronavirus cases is now more than 1,000, up from just 51 a week ago. American health officials on Tuesday warned that they expect the epidemic to spread in the U.S., news that extended the sell-off in stocks.

The virus and the market reaction has also entered U.S. politics. President Donald Trump tweeted “Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” after the close on Monday. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren by contrast said the plunge in stocks is only the “tip of the iceberg” of a growing economic threat from the coronavirus.

Meantime, traders are monitoring for any signs of policy accommodation as the global economy absorbs the blow of virus-linked shutdowns. U.S. central bankers are closely monitoring the spreading virus, but it is “still too soon” to say whether it will result in a material change to the outlook, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said Tuesday. Traders nevertheless are betting on further easing.

“The ultimate impact remains entirely unknown at this stage,” said Eleanor Creagh, a Sydney-based strategist at Saxo Capital Markets. “And uncertainty is the enemy of conviction.”

Elsewhere, crude oil remained around $50 a barrel after slumping for two straight sessions.

These are some key events coming up:

Earnings keep rolling in from companies including: Peugeot SA on Wednesday; Baidu Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc., Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Dell Technologies Inc. on Thursday; and London Stock Exchange Group Plc on Friday.The Bank of Korea announces its policy decision on Thursday, with rising risks of an interest-rate cut.U.S. jobless claims, GDP and durable goods data are out Thursday.Japan industrial production, jobs, and retail sales figures are due on Friday.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.7% as of noon in Tokyo. The gauge fell 3% on Tuesday.Japan’s Topix index retreated 1.1%, after being down as much as 1.9% earlier.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.8%.The Shanghai Composite fell 0.4%.South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 1.1%.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.4%.

Currencies

The yen was down 0.2% at 110.47 per dollar.The offshore yuan was little changed at 7.0277 per dollar.The euro bought $1.0869, little changed.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries ticked up a basis point, to 1.36%.Australia’s 10-year yield was flat at 0.93%.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude oil added 0.5% to $50.17 a barrel.Gold rose 0.6% to $1,644.70 an ounce.

–With assistance from Elizabeth Stanton.

To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Haigh in Sydney at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Anstey at [email protected], Ravil Shirodkar

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