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Shares down, dollar ticks up as U.S. stimulus talks drag

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Asian shares fell on Thursday and the dollar edged higher as investors fretted over the slow pace of U.S. stimulus talks and a surge in global cases of COVID-19.

FILE PHOTO: A passersby wearing a protective face mask stands in front of a screen displaying world stock indexes outside a brokerage, in Tokyo, Japan October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

The falls in Asia looked set to continue in Europe, putting European shares on track for a fourth straight session in the red.

In early European trade, pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures STXEc1 were down 0.5%, German DAX futures FDXc1 shed 0.52% and FTSE futures FFIc1 slipped 0.39% to 5,722.5

Global investor sentiment has taken a fresh hit after U.S. President Donald Trump accused Democrats on Wednesday of being unwilling to craft an acceptable compromise on fresh stimulus, following reports of progress earlier in the day.

It remains unclear whether stimulus negotiations would continue ahead of the U.S. presidential and congressional elections on Nov. 3.

“We still think that this deal will remain elusive in the sense that this amount that we are talking about, $1.88 trillion, that’s about 9% of GDP, and 2.2 trillion which is Speaker Pelosi’s package, is even higher at around 10% of GDP,” said Anthony Chan, chief Asia investment strategist at Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) in Hong Kong.

“Even if both sides do manage to reach an agreement, given the tight deadline ahead of the election it’s unlikely that something like that would be able to go through the Senate smoothly.”

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MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was down 0.31%, while the Nikkei .N225 was 0.66% lower.

Australian shares .AXJO gave up 0.29%, Seoul’s Kospi .KS11 was off 0.87% and Chinese blue-chips .CSI300 lost 0.53%.

Uncertainty over the passage of a bill to stimulate a pandemic-ravaged economy comes as the United States faces a new wave of COVID-19 cases.

Nearly two-thirds of U.S. states were in a danger zone of coronavirus spread and six, including election battleground Wisconsin, reported a record one-day increase in COVID-19 deaths on Wednesday.

Against that backdrop, Wall Street’s three major averages closed lower on Wednesday after a choppy trading session.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI inched lower by 0.35%, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.22%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.28%.

On Thursday, the dollar was 0.1% higher against the yen at 104.66 JPY=, while the euro EUR= notched down 0.12% to $1.1847.

But against a basket of major peers, the dollar =USD appeared relatively unaffected by setbacks to stimulus talks, trading only slightly higher at 92.736, steadying after touching a seven-week low.

“Markets are now pricing in a strong likelihood of a Biden Presidency perhaps even a clean sweep of Congress, and this is weighing on the USD, as they view a less confrontational trade environment. They will also probably be factoring in a large fiscal stimulus early next year, with none of the hold up that is currently preventing a deal,” Rob Carnell, chief economist at ING in Singapore said in a note.

The yield on benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR ticked down to 0.8092% from a U.S. close of 0.816% on Wednesday.

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In commodity markets, oil prices extended sharp losses overnight, after higher U.S. gasoline inventories pointed to deteriorating fuel demand as coronavirus cases soar.[EIA/S]

U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 futures fell 0.37% to $39.88 a barrel and Brent crude LCOc1 futures were 0.31% lower at $41.60.

Gold eased as the dollar edged up, with spot gold XAU= down 0.52% at 1,914.56 per ounce. [GOL/]

Reporting by Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai; Additional reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; editing by Jane Wardell, Michael Perry and Kim Coghill

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Source: Reuters

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