Wall Street, coronavirus, currencies in focus

Michelle K. Wallace

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to trade lower at the Thursday open following an overnight plunge stateside that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than 700 points. Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,245 while its […]

Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to trade lower at the Thursday open following an overnight plunge stateside that saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling more than 700 points.

Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,245 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 22,210. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,534.32.

Shares in Australia were also set to decline, with the SPI futures contract at 5,837, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,965.70.

Markets in China and Hong Kong are closed on Thursday for a holiday.

Investor reaction to overnight moves on Wall Street will be watched on Thursday. The Dow fell 710.16 points, or 2.7%, to close at 25,445.94. The S&P 500 finished its trading day 2.6% lower at 3,050.33 while the Nasdaq Composite slid 2.2% to close at 9,909.17. It was the worst day for the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq since June 11.

The moves stateside came following a surge in coronavirus cases in certain states, with Florida and California reporting a record number of new cases. More than 2.36 million coronavirus cases have been reported in the U.S. while at least 121,662 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund slashed its economic forecasts again on Wednesday. The IMF now estimates a contraction of 4.9% in global gross domestic product in 2020, lower than the 3% fall it predicted in April.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has had a more negative impact on activity in the first half of 2020 than anticipated, and the recovery is projected to be more gradual than previously forecast,” the IMF said Wednesday in its World Economic Outlook update.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 97.148 after rising from levels below 97 seen earlier.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.01 per dollar in a volatile trading week that has seen it at levels below 106.4 against the greenback to around 107.2. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6861 after slipping from levels above $0.69 seen yesterday.

— CNBC’s Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.

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US dollar, coronavirus, global economy in focus

U.S. dollar bank notes are arranged for a photograph on September 7, 2017 in Hong Kong. studioEAST | Getty Images The dollar held firm on Thursday as an increase in coronavirus cases in the United States undermined hopes for a quick turnaround in the pandemic-hit economy and prompted traders to […]