Asia Stocks Head for Cautious Start on Virus Fears: Markets Wrap

Stocks in Asia looked set for a cautious start on Thursday after a rocky session on Wall Street that saw Treasury yields hit new all-time lows and declines in U.S. shares.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index were flat following a five-day retreat of 8% for the index as concern mounts that the spread of coronavirus into the world’s largest economy could curb growth. Microsoft Corp. fell in after-hours trading after saying the virus continues to impact itssupply chain in China. The Australian dollar tumbled to a fresh 11-year low and shares in Sydney dipped at the open.

President Donald Trump and federal health officials plan are due to brief the U.S. public on efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Health officials in Nassau County on New York’s Long Island are monitoring 83 people who have visited mainland China or may have come in contact with the virus. Earlier, German and American officials warned of a pandemic and the first cases in South America emerged.

“There’s more room potentially to go with this correction,” said Katie Koch, global co-head of fundamental equity funds at Goldman Sachs Asset Management. “There is still so much more uncertainty around how coronavirus is going to spread, particularly in the U.S.”

Elsewhere, traders will be watching the Bank of Korea’s policy decision Thursday. Meantime, crude oil fell below $49 a barrel in New York.

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These are some key events coming up:

  • Earnings keep rolling in from companies including: Baidu Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc., Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Dell Technologies Inc. on Thursday; and London Stock Exchange Group Plc on Friday.
  • 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 major moves in markets:


  • The S&P 500 fell 0.4% on Wednesday. Futures were steady as of 8:10 a.m. in Tokyo.
  • Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 dropped 0.5%.
  • Hang Seng Index futures earlier added 0.1%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.1%.


  • The yen was at 110.39 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan remained at 7.0210 per dollar.
  • The Australian dollar was at 65.46 U.S. cents.


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined one basis point to 1.34% on Wednesday.
  • Australia’s 10-year yield slid one basis point to 0.91% on Thursday.


  • West Texas Intermediate crude declined 0.4% to $48.56 a barrel.
  • Gold was at $1,641.14 an ounce.

— With assistance by Nancy Moran

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