Asian stocks set to open higher; oil holds surge

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(April 3): Asian stocks looked poised to open higher following a volatile session in the U.S., with oil producers well supported after President Donald Trump said Russia and Saudi Arabia would cut production.

The S&P 500 closed up 2.3% with energy shares the best performers, while consumer discretionary stocks lagged after jobless claims doubled from last week to 6.6 million. Futures in Japan and Australia climbed and U.S. contracts opened little changed in Asia. Treasuries retreated amid a slew of corporate supply. West Texas crude remained around $25 a barrel after surging 22% on Thursday, though the advance was pared as officials from both sides watered down expectations. The dollar pushed higher and yen and euro fell.

With the coronavirus now infecting 1 million people and lockdowns for many economies around the world expected to go on for longer, economic data are showing the severity of the impact. Nearly 10 million people in the U.S. have lost their jobs in the past two weeks, more than were lost during the whole 2008-09 recession.

“We are not going to have the real recovery in the market until what we think is the peak in the amount of infections and deaths,” Stephen Dover, head of equities at Franklin Templeton, said on Bloomberg TV. “We are going to continue to have very wide volatility until we can get over this uncertainty.”

These are the main moves in markets:
Stocks

    Futures on the S&P 500 were little changed as of 7:09 a.m. in Tokyo. The gauge ose 2.3% on Thursday.
    Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 advanced 1.9%.
    Hang Seng futures earlier slid 0.7%.
    Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 2.2%.

Currencies

    The yen was at 107.85 per dollar.
    The offshore yuan held at 7.0904 per dollar.
    The euro bought $1.0857.

Bonds

    The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose two basis points to 0.60%.
    Australia’s 10-year yield gained one basis points to 0.79%.

Commodities

    West Texas crude was at $24.96 a barrel after surging 22%.
    Gold was flat at $1,614.93 an ounce.