US stock-index futures slip; yuan ticks higher

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(Sept 21): U.S. stock futures opened with declines, while equities in Asia were set for a softer start after a dip on Wall Street on Friday. The offshore yuan edged higher.

Currencies elsewhere saw small moves, with the dollar largely steady against its main G-10 peers. Japan’s equity market is shut for a holiday and cash Treasuries won’t trade until the London open. Stock futures signaled modest declines in Australia and Hong Kong. Crude oil retreated.

As U.S.-China tensions linger, President Donald Trump said he’s approved Oracle Corp.’s bid for the U.S. operations of TikTok “in concept.” Meantime, the Trump administration’s curbs on WeChat were put on hold by a judge, upending an effort to halt use of the Chinese-owned app in the U.S.

Investors remain watchful for any signs of progress on a U.S. fiscal stimulus package, while Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will testify before Congress from Tuesday to Thursday to discuss pandemic relief efforts. Covid-19 cases in the U.S. steadied as deaths approached 200,000 and over in the U.K., the Health Secretary said the country is at a “tipping point.”

Elsewhere, the European Central Bank has launched a review of its pandemic bond-buying program to consider how long it should continue and whether its exceptional flexibility should be extended to older programs, the Financial Times reported.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures slid 0.3% as of 8:04 a.m. in Sydney. The gauge on Friday fell 1.1%.
  • Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.6% on Friday.
  • Hang Seng Index futures on Friday lost 0.4%.

Currencies

  • The yen was at 104.50 per dollar, up 0.1%.
  • The offshore yuan traded at 6.7680 per dollar, up 0.2%.
  • The euro bought US$1.1841, little changed.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries ended Friday little changed at 0.69%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 1.2% to US$40.61 a barrel.
  • Gold was at US$1,948.25, down 0.1%.