Coronavirus, U.S. Federal Reserve, currencies in focus

Michelle K. Wallace

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set for mixed trading as the coronavirus situation stateside continues to be monitored by investors amid concerns as cases continue to surge.

Futures pointed to a lower open for stocks in Japan. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,505 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 22,470. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,259.79.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were set for a positive start to their trading day. The SPI futures contract was at 5,835, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,817.70.

Markets in China are closed on Friday for a holiday.

Investor reaction to the ongoing coronavirus situation in the U.S. will continue to be watched on Friday, after the country suffered its single-biggest daily coronavirus cases surge on record. More than 45,000 new coronavirus cases were confirmed on Wednesday, a record that surpassed the previous April 26 peak by over 9,000 cases, according to an NBC News tally.

“The burden on healthcare systems may force city or state governments to pause reopening of their economies or reimpose city-or state-wide lockdowns,” Joseph Capuro, head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia, wrote in a note.

Still, Capurso said: “We doubt a second wave of infections will reverse the current US economic recovery. The reimposition of lockdowns in select US cities will have a much smaller economic impact than state-wide or nation-wide lockdowns.”

Meanwhile, the U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday placed new restrictions on the banking industry after its annual stress test found that several banks could get close to minimum capital levels in scenarios related to the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, banks have to suspend share buyback programs and leave dividend payments at current levels for the third quarter.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 299.66 points higher, or 1.2%, at 25,745.60.  The S&P 500 finished its trading day 1.1% higher at 3,083.76 while the Nasdaq Composite also advanced 1.1% to close at 10,017. 

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.429 having traded at levels below 97 earlier in the trading week.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.18 per dollar following its weakening from levels below 106.8 against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.6893, having risen to levels above $0.695 and traded below $0.685 this week. 

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

Source Article

Next Post

Coronavirus, fuel demand in focus

A kayaker passes in front of an offshore oil platform in the Guanabara Bay in Niteroi, Brazil, Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020. Dado Galdieri | Bloomberg | Getty Images Oil prices rose in early trade on Friday, extending gains from the previous day on optimism about recovering fuel demand worldwide, despite […]