(Bloomberg) — Stocks in Asia fell on heavy volumes Wednesday after another sell-off on Wall Street, while U.S. equity futures and Treasuries steadied. European stock futures pointed lower.
The won fell toward its weakest since 2016 after South Korea reported a further escalation in coronavirus cases. Korean and Australian stocks fell most, with shares in Shanghai fluctuating through the session. The S&P 500 Index fell 3% overnight, seeing its worst two-day slide since 2015. Ten-year Treasury yields held near Tuesday’s record low. The offshore yuan was little changed, and the yen gave up some recent gains.
South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, said its national total for coronavirus cases is now more than 1,000, up from just 51 a week ago. American health officials Tuesday warned that they expect the epidemic to spread in the U.S., news that extended the sell-off in stocks.
The virus and the market reaction has also entered U.S. politics. President Donald Trump tweeted “Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” after the close on Monday. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren by contrast said the plunge in stocks is only the “tip of the iceberg” of a growing economic threat from the coronavirus.
Meantime, traders are monitoring for any signs of policy accommodation as the global economy absorbs the blow of virus-linked shutdowns. U.S. central bankers are closely monitoring the spreading virus, but it is “still too soon” to say whether it will result in a material change to the outlook, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida said Tuesday. Traders nevertheless are betting on further easing.
“The ultimate impact remains entirely unknown at this stage,” said Eleanor Creagh, a Sydney-based strategist at Saxo Capital Markets. “And uncertainty is the enemy of conviction.”
Elsewhere, crude oil slipped below $50 a barrel after slumping for two straight sessions.
These are some key events coming up:
Earnings keep rolling in from companies including: Peugeot SA on Wednesday; Baidu Inc., Best Buy Co. Inc., Occidental Petroleum Corp. and Dell Technologies Inc. on Thursday; and London Stock Exchange Group Plc on Friday.The Bank of Korea announces its policy decision on Thursday, with rising risks of an interest-rate cut.U.S. jobless claims, GDP and durable goods data are out Thursday.Japan industrial production, jobs, and retail sales figures are due on Friday.
These are the main moves in markets:
Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.2% as of 7: 11 a.m. in London. The gauge fell 3% on Tuesday.Japan’s Topix index retreated 0.8% at the close, after being down as much as 1.9% earlier in the day.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.9%.The Shanghai Composite fell 0.8%.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 2.3%.South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 1.3%.Euro Stoxx 50 futures declined 0.8%.
The yen was down 0.2% at 110.41 per dollar.The offshore yuan was at 7.0332 per dollar, down 0.1%.The euro dropped 0.1% to $1.0871.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell one basis point to 1.34%.Australia’s 10-year yield fell one basis point at 0.92%.
West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 0.2% to $49.83 a barrel.Gold rose 0.6% to $1,645 an ounce.
–With assistance from Elizabeth Stanton and Andreea Papuc.
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