Asian stocks were set for a mixed start to trading Friday amid renewed concern about the impact of the coronavirus. The dollar rose with Treasuries and gold climbed to a seven-year high as investors sought havens.
Australian shares opened flat, with futures little changed in Japan and lower in Hong Kong. U.S. stocks slipped and the Dollar Index climbed to the highest in almost three years as the rise in virus cases outside of China hit sentiment. The yen extended itsfall past 112 per dollar and the yuan weakened.
Anxiety has crept back into global markets this week amid a spike in coronavirus infections outside China and a slew of fresh warnings from companies on the pathogen’s impact. That’s threatening gains that propelled global equities to a record high earlier this month and reigniting appetite for haven assets from Treasuries to the dollar.
“It may be a much longer road,” Dan Farley, chief investment officer of the investment solutions group at State Street Global Advisors, told Bloomberg TV in Sydney. “We have to be very mindful that this is not an easily solvable issue and the impact on consumer demand for a number of different sectors is going to be something that we need to be watching out for.”
Elsewhere, oil jumped to the highest in almost four weeks as U.S. crude exports surged and the expansion of domestic inventories slowed dramatically.
Here are some key events coming up:
- Earnings season rolls on, with results from Deere & Co. set for Friday.
- Euro-area PMI and inflation data are also due Friday.
- Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank chiefs are due to meet Feb. 22-23 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and are expected to discuss efforts to support growth amid the coronavirus threat.
These are the main moves in markets:
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index dipped 0.1% as of 8:02 a.m. in Tokyo. The underlying gauge fell 0.4% on Thursday.
- Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 were little changed.
- Hang Seng futures earlier dropped 0.6%.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was flat.
- The yen was at 112.06 per dollar.
- The offshore yuan traded at 7.0471 per dollar.
- The Dollar Index rose 0.2%.
- The euro bought $1.0786.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries sank five basis points to 1.52%.
- Australia’s 10-year yield fell four basis points to 0.96%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude was at $53.78 a barrel.
- Gold traded at $1,619.85 an ounce.
— With assistance by Cormac Mullen, Michael G Wilson, Andy Clarke, and Paul Allen
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