Asian stocks to track US lower as virus spreads

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(Oct 27): Asian stocks looked poised to open weaker Tuesday after U.S. shares tumbled on concern rising coronavirus cases will hurt the global economy and stimulus talks in Washington dragged on. Treasuries advanced.

Futures pointed lower in Japan and Australia. The S&P 500 Index had its biggest loss in a month. Ongoing fiscal spending talks in Washington continued to weigh on sentiment as prospects dimmed for fiscal aid before the presidential election. The dollar strengthened and 10-year Treasury yields slid toward 0.8%. Oil and copper declined, while gold was little changed.

In Europe, a gauge of tech stocks fell the most since March after a 22% plunge in German software maker SAP SE following a cut to its sales forecast and warnings that the pandemic will hurt business through mid-2021.

Investors have turned cautious with the U.S. election a week away and time running out to finish an aid package before then. On the virus front, U.S. infections have hit a record in recent days. Europe took a step closer to the strict rules imposed during the initial wave of the pandemic, with leaders struggling to regain control of the spread while confronting growing opposition to restrictions.

“Fiscal stimulus seems to not be coming as quickly as we thought and the virus is coming quicker than we imagined,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager for GLOBALT Investments in Atlanta. “Putting those two together is somewhat of a reality check for the markets.”

In Washington, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin again attempted to reconcile differences on a virus relief package. Differences between the two sides “have narrowed,” but “the more it narrows, the more conditions come up on the other side,” White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters.

Elsewhere, Turkey’s lira weakened past 8 per dollar for the first time. The central bank rattled investors last week by unexpectedly keeping rates on hold, and geopolitical risks have sapped interest in Turkish assets.

These are some events to watch this week:

  • The Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee holds its all-important plenum, where it’s expected to chart the course for the economy’s development for the next 15 years. Through Oct. 29.
  • Brexit negotiating teams have started intense daily negotiations, and these are likely to continue as both sides push to finalize a deal by the middle of November.
  • Bank of Japan and the European Central Bank have monetary policy decisions Thursday, followed by briefings from Governor Kuroda and President Lagarde.
  • The first reading of U.S. 3Q GDP Thursday is anticipated to be the strongest on record following a record dive in the prior quarter as many businesses were shuttered by the pandemic.

Here are the major moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index decreased 1.9%.
  • Nikkei 225 futures fell 0.3%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index futures dropped 0.9%.

Currencies

  • The yen was at 104.85 per dollar.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.3%.
  • The euro traded at US$1.1812 after dropping 0.4%.
  • The British pound was at US$1.3017.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined four basis points to 0.80%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude declined 3.1% to US$38.60 a barrel.
  • Gold was little changed at US$1,902.21 an ounce.