China loan prime rate, coronavirus, currencies in focus

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to open mixed on Wednesday as investors await the release of China’s benchmark lending rate.

Futures pointed to a mixed open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 20,450 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 20,390. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 20,433.45.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were set to decline. The SPI futures contract was at 5,491, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,559.50.

The monthly fixing of China’s loan prime rate is set to be released at around 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN on Wednesday, with little expectation for the benchmark lending rate to change, according to a Reuters survey of traders and analysts.

Investors will also watch for market reaction to a STAT News report released overnight that raised concerns about the trial results for a potential coronavirus vaccine from Moderna. That initial positive development had sent markets rallying earlier in the week.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 390.51 points, or 1.6%, to close at 24,206.86. The S&P 500 ended its trading day 1.1% lower at 2,922.91 while the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.5% and closed at 9,185.10.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 99.371 following its decline from levels above 100 earlier in the week.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.87 per dollar after weakening from levels below 107.5 yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.6539 after seeing highs above $0.655 yesterday.

What’s on tap for Wednesday:

  • China: One-year and five-year loan prime rate expected at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN

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