Japanese shares were primed for gains after a slide in the yen, while stocks elsewhere in Asia looked mixed as investors assessed China’spolicy measures to fight the impact of the coronavirus. U.S. and European equities closed at record highs.
The yen slid to its weakest in nine months amid concern the Japanese economy is heading towardrecession and as Chinese stimulus reduced demand for some haven assets. Equity futures in Japan rose almost 1% and shares in Sydney edged higher at the open. The dollar climbed to the strongest since October after data on housing starts and building permits exceeded estimates. Treasuries held steady after minutes showed Federal Reserve officialsviewed monetary policy as appropriate “for a time.”
Investor sentiment continues to suggest they are confident the coronavirus outbreak will have just a short-term impact on the global economy, even as companies from Apple Inc. to Burberry Group Plc cut guidance amid worries the slowdown in China will hit sales. Meantime, data showed the U.S. housing market remains a bright spot for the world’s biggest economy amid sluggish business investment.
“Certainly what we are seeing is more evidence that it’s largely containable within China,” Mike Ryan, chief investment officer for the Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management, told Bloomberg TV. “The concern of course is if this translates into a global event and impacts sentiment more deeply, that’s when you will have to be more concerned — I don’t think we are at that point yet.”
Hubei province reported 349 new cases, a sharp decline from the nearly 1,700 the previous day as China again changed itsmethod for counting infections.
Elsewhere, oil gained as U.S. sanctions on Russia’s largest producer and conflict in Libya put the focus on supply threats.
Here are some key events coming up:
- Earnings season rolls on, with results from Deere & Co. set for Friday.
- Indonesia is expected to cut interest rates on Thursday, following emerging-market peers that have already moved.
- Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs are scheduled to meet Feb. 22-23 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and are expected to discuss efforts to support growth amid the coronavirus threat.
These are the main moves in markets:
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.1% as of 8:03 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge advanced 0.5% on Wednesday, when the Stoxx Europe 600 Index jumped 0.8%.
- Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.9% in Singapore.
- Hang Seng futures earlier closed little changed.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3%.
- The yen fell 0.1% to 111.26 per dollar after sliding 1.4% on Wednesday.
- The offshore yuan held at 7.0100 per dollar.
- The euro was at $1.0808.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 1.56%.
- Australia’s 10-year yield remained at 1.04%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude advanced 0.4% to $53.49 a barrel.
- Gold was at $1,612.04 an ounce.
— With assistance by John Ainger, and Susanne Barton
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