U.S. Stock Futures Rise on Primaries; Yen Slips: Markets Wrap

U.S. stock futures rebounded after Tuesday’s sharp decline, and the yen dipped, as investors took in Super Tuesday election results alongside the Federal Reserve’s emergency interest-rate cut. Treasuries pared gains.

Joe Biden’s surprise comeback in the race blunted the chance of the Bernie Sanders nomination that had unsettled some investors. Futures on the S&P 500 rose more than 1% after the index tumbled almost 3% in wake of the 50 basis-point Fed move that failed to ease concerns about an economic downturn. A volatile session for Asian stocks saw declines in Australia offset gains in South Korea, while Japan ended little changed. Chinese and Hong Kong shares fluctuated. Ten-year Treasury yields stayed below 1% after falling below that level for the first time Tuesday.

Biden, positioned as a moderate against a more progressive Sanders, won states from Virginia to Massachusetts as the Super Tuesday results rolled in. Sanders was projected to win California and results in other states are yet to come.

“Biden would be a less severe change for markets that already have enough to worry about, with all these external shocks,” said Jerry Braakman, chief investment officer of First American Trust, in Santa Ana, California. “Sanders would bring a lot changes that markets wouldn’t necessarily like.”

Equities earlier had tumbled after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell warned that the virus outbreak will weigh on activity “for some time.” Expectations the Fed may act again as soon as this month show markets remain extremely cautious about the economy’s prospects to weather the hit.

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Elsewhere, oil extended gains after an OPEC+ committee recommendation for a larger supply cut to offset lost demand from the spread of the virus.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose 1.3% as of 3:05 p.m. in Tokyo. The underlying gauge dropped 2.8% on Tuesday.
  • Japan’s Topix index ended 0.2% down.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.2%.
  • The Shanghai Composite slid 0.3%.
  • South Korea’s Kospi index rose 2.2%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 1.7%.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries slid about three basis points to 0.97%.
  • Australia’s 10-year yield dropped about seven basis points to 0.72%.

Currencies

  • The yen fell 0.3% to 107.43 per dollar after surging on Tuesday.
  • The offshore yuan rose 0.2% to 6.9347 per dollar.
  • The euro bought $1.1157, down 0.2%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude was at $47.92 a barrel, up 1.6%.
  • Gold was little changed at $1,642.51 an ounce.

— With assistance by Joanna Ossinger

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