Coronavirus, IMF, currencies in focus

Stocks in Asia were set to open mixed on Wednesday as the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on investor sentiment.

Futures pointed to a lower open for stocks in Japan. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 19.625 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 19,520. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s Tuesday surge of more than 3% to close at 19,638.81.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were set to edge higher. The SPI futures contract was at 5,500.0, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,488.10.

Developments around the coronavirus pandemic will likely continue to be in focus for investors, with the International Monetary Fund warning on Tuesday that the global economy is set to see its worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The Washington-based organization now expects the global economy to contract by 3% in 2020. By contrast, in January it had forecast a global GDP (gross domestic product) expansion of 3.3% for this year.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 558.99 points to close at 23,949.76. The S&P 500 added 3.1% to end its trading day at 2,846.06 while the Nasdaq Composite advanced nearly 4% to close at 8,515.74. Tuesday’s moves gave the Nasdaq its first four-day winning streak since early February. 

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 98.887 after slipping from levels above 99.0 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.13 per dollar after seeing levels above 107.2 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6438 after rising from levels below $0.64 yesterday.

What’s on tap for Wednesday:

  • Indonesia: Balance of trade for March at 12:00 p.m. HK/SIN

– CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.

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