U.S. Futures Drop, Yen Gains With Stimulus Pending: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — U.S. equity futures retreated with Treasury yields as investors awaited details from the Trump administration on planned stimulus measures to counter the coronavirus impact. Asian equities were mixed and the oil price surged with no clear trigger.

S&P 500 futures fell as much as 2.6%, following a strong rebound on Wall Street after Monday’s plunge. President Donald Trump didn’t appear at a briefing on the outbreak after promising a day earlier he would announce a “major” economic package, leaving investors waiting. The yen clawed back some of a steep overnight retreat. Shares in Japan were flat and Hong Kong saw modest gains, with declines in South Korea and Australia. Oil extended its rally on the back of Monday’s crash.

“We saw a relief rally yesterday that just hasn’t been sustainable,” Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management in Melbourne, told Bloomberg TV. A delayed response raises the risk that “employment growth starts to fall, unemployment starts to rise — and that’s a more difficult story to try to reverse and see growth come back later in the year,” he said.

Meantime, Joe Biden appeared to cement his position as front-runner for the U.S. Democratic presidential nomination with primary victories Tuesday, further easing concerns among those opposing Bernie Sanders’s progressive platform.

Volatility continued to grip global financial markets rattled by the virus and an all-out oil price war. U.S. stocks plunged the most since 2008 on Monday, and further selling took futures 20% from records before the rally sparked by Trump’s promise for action Tuesday.

“We are strongly advocating do not sell in panic and fear because nobody really knows what the extent of the virus will be or the price war on oil,” Sandip Bhagat, chief investment officer at Whittier Trust, said on Bloomberg TV. “We know the repricing to this new reality will be slow, will be painful and it will take a long time.”

Elsewhere, Australian bonds gained after the central bank reiterated previous signals that any quantitative easing measures would focus on yield “objectives” rather than set levels of bond purchases.

Here are some key events coming up:

The European Central Bank’s policy decision comes Thursday amid expectations it may ease policy.The U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer unveils the government’s 2020 budget on Wednesday.The U.S. core consumer price index, due Wednesday, is expected to remain subdued in February.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

Japan’s Topix index was little changed as of 12:20 p.m. in Tokyo.South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 1.2%.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.2%.The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3%.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 2.2%.S&P 500 futures fell 1.8%. The index rose 4.9% on Tuesday.Euro Stoxx 50 futures rose 1.5%.

Currencies

The yen rose 0.7% to 104.95 per dollar after sliding 3.2%.The offshore yuan was at 6.9582 per dollar.The euro bought $1.1322, up 0.4%.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped about 12 basis points to 0.68%.Australia’s 10-year bond yield fell about seven basis points to 0.72%.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude surged 2.9% to $35.37 a barrel.Gold added 0.5% to $1,656.69 an ounce.

–With assistance from Sophie Caronello.

To contact the reporters on this story: Adam Haigh in Sydney at [email protected];Gregor Stuart Hunter in Hong Kong at [email protected]

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

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