Asian stocks pause ahead of Chinese data and US ‘altitude sickness’

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BOSTON (Reuters) – Asian stocks were expected to have a largely flat start on Friday, as markets paused the multi-month rally in Wall Street stocks and awaited the release of Chinese economic data later in the session.

FILE PHOTO: A visitor wearing a face mask, following a coronavirus outbreak, walks past a stock listing board outside a brokerage house in Tokyo, Japan March 2, 2020. REUTERS / Issei Kato

Australian S & P / ASX 200 futures were down 0.05% while Japanese Nikkei 225 futures were up 0.06% after the Nikkei 225 index closed 1.78% at 23,249.61 Thursday. The futures contract is down 0.11% from this close. Hong Kong Hang Seng Index futures fell 0.13%.

The S&P 500 ended slightly lower Thursday after briefly breaking its high closing high for a second day, and the Dow Jones Industrial Average also fell following a disappointing forecast from Cisco Systems Inc. The boosted Nasdaq Composite by Apple Inc, pushed higher.

Wall Street’s reluctance came as US lawmakers continued to fight for a new economic stimulus package and after a US Department of Labor report showed the number of Americans claiming unemployment benefits fell below one million last week for the first time since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic – not enough to change economists’ view that the job market recovery was weakening.

“Many say the best treatment for altitude sickness is to stop and rest where you are,” Rodrigo Catril, senior FX strategist at the National Australia Bank in Sydney, wrote in a note on the slight decline in US equities and government bonds.

S&P 500 e-mini futures rose 0.13%. MSCI’s stock gauge across the world fell 0.04%.

The dollar index fell 0.141%. The Japanese yen weakened 0.03% against the greenback to 106.96 per dollar; The Australian dollar rose 0.03% against the greenback to $ 0.715 and the offshore Chinese yuan weakened to 6.9485 per dollar.

Joseph Capurso, head of international economics at the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney, said economic data expected later Friday from China would boost trade in the Australian dollar and Chinese currency.

“We expect July retail sales, industrial production and capital investment to all point to a robust and continuing recovery in China,” he wrote. “The commodity-driven, China-led global economic recovery is supporting currencies such as the Australian dollar.”

Benchmark yields on US Treasuries hit seven-week highs on Thursday after the Treasury sold a record amount of 30-year bonds in weak demand. Ten-year yields were the last at 0.718%, after hitting 0.727% earlier, the highest since June 24. They are up from 0.504% last Thursday, which was the lowest since March 9.

Oil prices eased on Thursday after a weaker demand forecast, but the weak dollar limited losses as traders kept their eyes on the headlines of US stimulus measures. US crude rose 0.24% to $ 42.34 a barrel while Brent settled Thursday’s session at $ 44.96.

Spot gold added 0.3% to $ 1,958.07 an ounce.

Report by Lawrence Delevingne in Boston

Our standards:Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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