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Stocks mixed amid concerns over Delta variant, downsizing talk

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Stocks mixed amid concerns over Delta variant, downsizing talk

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SYDNEY – Asian stocks traded sideways on Tuesday as concerns about the Delta spread and expectations of an earlier drawdown by the Federal Reserve offset strong corporate earnings, while gold and oil rallied after his heavy falls.

Markets were also cautious ahead of Wednesday’s US inflation figures, which shortly after strong employment data, could fuel further speculation about the gradual reduction of Fed bond purchases.

MSCI’s broader Asia-Pacific equity index outside of Japan rose 0.17% mid-afternoon after trading most of the day in slightly red territory, with China’s first-class CSI300 index also rebounding to be 0.43% higher, while South Korea’s KOSPI index was 0.64% weaker.

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Other markets were expected to open lower with S&P 500 futures down 0.12%, Euro STOXX 50 futures down 0.01% and FTSE futures down 0.15%.

“Stocks have been trailing quite sideways, but commodities are slightly weak and that partly reflects the uncertainty of COVID-19 because cases appear to be increasing and underlying concerns of a slowdown in China,” said the strategist. from TD Securities Asia-Pacific Prashant Newnaha.

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index rose 0.78%, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.42% and Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.22%.

Gold prices also rebounded, after hitting a four-month low on Monday, as strong US employment data bolstered expectations for an early reduction in economic support measures from the Federal Reserve.

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Officials also said inflation was at a level that could meet a key test stage for the start of interest rate hikes.

“That probably influenced stocks slightly,” Newnaha added.

China reported more COVID-19 infections on Monday in what appears to be its most severe resurgence of the disease since mid-2020, as some cities added massive rounds of testing in a bid to eradicate the infections.

Australia’s benchmark S & P / ASX200 index was 0.32% higher thanks to strong earnings results, even as the nation’s most populous state posted its largest daily increase in coronavirus cases.

Oil prices rebounded on Tuesday after falling as much as 4% in the previous session, which extended last week’s heavy losses amid a soaring US dollar and concerns that new coronavirus-related restrictions in China could slow the global reactivation of fuel demand.

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US crude oil futures were trading at $ 66.98 a barrel, an increase of $ 0.5 or 0.75%. Brent crude was at $ 69.37, up $ 0.33 or 0.48% higher.

Strong employment data boosted US Treasury yields Benchmark 10-year notes were last yielding 1.3135%, a slight drop after rising from last week’s low of last week. 1.1270%.

“Having gone from a very pro-inflation view this year to a very deflated view for up to a week or so, what we’re getting now is another rotation in some of the reflation operations,” said Sean Darby, strategist at Jefferies. In Hong Kong.

“The only thing different between now and the last 12 to 19 months is that it is likely to be accompanied by a stronger dollar.”

US stock indices were mostly soft on Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing 0.3% lower, the S&P 500 0.09% and the Nasdaq Composite adding 0.16%.

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MSCI’s global stock indicator was 0.02% higher.

In the United States, the Senate came closest to passing a $ 1 trillion infrastructure package, though it has yet to go through the House.

Investors were still evaluating whether Friday’s strong US payroll report would take the Fed one step closer to reducing its stimulus and were eagerly awaiting inflation figures due Wednesday.

“What we are seeing is a small anticipated profit taking due to the fear that the reduction will take place in early September,” said Sebastien Galy, senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management. “But as you can see, it has little impact because the effect of a better economy far outweighs the substitution effect of higher interest rates.”

However, the pace of reduction was still up in the air and would decide when a real rate increase would occur, he said. Currently, the Fed is buying assets worth $ 120 billion a month.

The spread of the Delta variant could argue for a longer reduction.

In currency markets, the dollar index was down 0.02% and the euro rose 0.01% to $ 1.1739, close to its lowest level since early April.

The dollar held firm against the yen at 110.32 yen, close to its highest level in about two weeks.

(Reporting by Paulina Duran in Sydney and Matt Scuffham in New York; Edited by Shri Navaratnam and Jacqueline Wong)

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