Asian Stocks Look Set to Slip; Treasuries Climb: Markets Wrap

Asian stocks looked set to slip after a choppy U.S. session as investors mulled the timing of further stimulus amid gains for technology shares. Treasury yields fell and the dollar pushed higher.

Futures pointed to modest declines in Japan and Hong Kong. S&P 500 futures dipped after the gauge closed higher, though gains were limited after the top Senate Democrat said an aid package was unlikely before mid-March and a U.S. health official expressed concern about vaccination delays. The Nasdaq 100 outperformed as investors awaited earnings from some of the biggest companies.

Elsewhere, crude oil climbed toward $53 a barrel and gold was little changed. European stocks retreated. Australian markets are shut for a holiday.

With global stocks trading around record highs investors are looking for fresh catalysts to push them higher or at least justify current valuations. That could come from a slate of earnings reports due this week. Meanwhile, the possibility that a U.S. fiscal-relief package might be delayed is undercutting a key reason why Treasury yields climbed earlier this year.

President Joe Biden said he’s open to negotiate on his $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief proposal, and is hopeful to bring Republicans behind it, though didn’t rule out pursuing a Democrat-only route. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier Monday he aims to secure passage of the next round of relief by mid-March, just when jobless benefits from the last package will be running out.

On the pandemic front, vaccine coverage won’t reach a point that would stop transmission of the virus in the foreseeable future, the World Health Organization said Monday. U.S. infectious-disease chief Anthony Fauci said he’s worried about delays to second doses.

These are some key events coming up in the week ahead:

  • Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc., Tesla Inc., Facebook Inc., UBS Group AG and Samsung Electronics Co. are among companies reporting results.
  • Data on U.S. home prices and consumer confidence come Tuesday.
  • The Federal Open Market Committee monetary policy decision and briefing by Chair Jerome Powell are scheduled for Wednesday.
  • Fourth-quarter GDP, initial jobless claims and new home sales are among U.S. data releases Thursday.
  • U.S. personal income, spending and pending home sales come Friday.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures fell 0.1%. The S&P 500 Index rose 0.4%.
  • Nikkei 225 futures fell 0.2%.
  • Hang Seng futures fell 0.6%.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.8%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.2% Monday.
  • The euro was little changed at $1.2144.
  • The British pound was flat at $1.3677.
  • The Japanese yen was little changed at 103.76 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan was flat at 6.4872 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined six basis points to 1.03% Monday.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.3% to $52.92 a barrel.
  • Gold was little changed at $1,855 an ounce.

— With assistance by Vivien Lou Chen

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