Asian stocks to start new month lower; US dollar gains

Asian stocks to start new month lower; US dollar gains
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(Dec 1): Asian stocks looked set to drift Tuesday after U.S. stocks slipped from record highs as investors weighed the prospects for risk assets after an unprecedented month of gains. The dollar strengthened.

Futures pointed lower in Japan and Australia. The S&P 500 dropped the most in more than a week, though still closed out its best month since April. The tech-heavy Nasdaq indexes that trailed in November fared better, touching a record high on Monday, while a gauge of global stocks posted its best month on record. Gold retreated and Bitcoin rallied back to an all-time high.

Elsewhere, oil edged lower. The complex OPEC+ meeting that was due to take place on Tuesday to hash out the size of its production cuts next year was rescheduled as “further consultations” were needed first, according to a letter seen by Bloomberg. A meeting on Monday ended without an agreement.

Rapid progress toward a coronavirus vaccine has given investors confidence to price in a return to normalcy and faster economic growth, helping lift shares of companies that were hardest hit by the pandemic. An MSCI index of global stocks jumped 12% in November, its biggest monthly gain on record.

“I feel pretty confident that portfolios should be positioned for continued good performance from equity markets as we head into 2021,” Chris Iggo, chief investment officer for core investments at AXA Investment Managers, said in a note.

Meanwhile, shares of Moderna Inc. surged 20% on Monday after the company said it plans to request clearance for its coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. and Europe.

These are some key events coming up:

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia holds a policy meeting on Tuesday.
  • Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.
  • The U.S. employment report on Friday is expected to show more Americans headed back to work in November, though at a slower pace than last month.

Here are some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index dipped 0.5%.
  • Nikkei 225 futures dropped 0.2% in Singapore.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index futures slipped 0.2%.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index contracts fell 0.4% earlier.

Currencies

  • The yen lost 0.3% to 104.40 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan fell 0.1% to 6.5848 per dollar.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3%.
  • The euro fell 0.3% to US$1.1930.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries gained less than one basis point to 0.84%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude slid 1.1% to US$45.05 a barrel.
  • Gold depreciated 0.7% to US$1,776.11 an ounce, the weakest in five months.