Stocks in Asia Pacific were set to fall at the open on Friday after an overnight plunge on Wall Street amid fears of a second wave resurgence of the coronavirus pandemic.
Futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks, with the Nikkei futures contract in Chicago at 21,915 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 21,660. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 22,472.91.
Shares in Australia were also set to trade lower, with the SPI futures contract at 5,775, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,960.60.
Investor reaction to the overnight drop stateside will be watched on Friday, which saw stocks suffering their biggest one-day plunge since March. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 1,861.82 points, or 6.9%, to close at 25,128.17. The S&P 500 slid 5.9% to 3,002.10 while the Nasdaq Composite dropped 5.3%. to end the day at 9,492.73
“Yesterday’s new infection numbers brought the total number of US COVID19 cases to above two million, with a number of localised hotspots — 18 states are seeing an increase, including Arizona, Florida, Texas and parts of California. And globally, Wednesday’s new case load of 135,000 is the highest daily tally to date,” Ray Attrill, head of foreign exchange strategy at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.
“Whether the latest COVID-19 news is fanning concerns about fresh lockdowns with all that entails for economic activity, or (and perhaps more realistic, in the US at least) a more extended period of cautious consumer behaviour, it is doubtless a factor behind the sharp falls in stocks,” Attrill said.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 96.733 after rising from levels around 96 earlier.
The Japanese yen traded at 106.81 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 107 seen yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.684 after plunging from levels above $0.696 observed in the previous trading day.
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.