Stocks Gain in Asia, Dollar Halts Eight-Day Rally: Markets Wrap

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Asian stocks rose, U.S. stock futures came off earlier lows and the dollar halted an eight-day rally as investors took stock of stimulus measures, giving tentative signs of returning appetite for riskier assets.

Gains in Hong Kong’s equity market topped 3% and shares in Australia and South Korea climbed about 4%. S&P 500 futures erased more than half their earlier losses. The Australian and New Zealand dollars rose, with indications the recent dash for the dollar was ebbing somewhat. Australian bonds kept their gains as the central bank began buying bonds. China’s offshore yuan rose despite the weakest daily fixing of its currency in 12 years. Crude rose after its record surge Thursday.

There were signs of buyers returning in U.S. equities Thursday when the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed, with Tesla Inc., Twitter Inc. and Netflix Inc. all up at least 5%. Trump sought to reassure skeptical Republicans that he’s aiming to help workers through the crisis, not necessarily corporations, a priority made all the more urgent after data showed U.S. jobless claims came in higher than expected.

“We are now starting to lean into risk,” Chad Morganlander, senior portfolio manager at Washington Crossing Advisors, told Bloomberg TV. “The tail of this is going to be potentially somewhat more extended than what the overall market thinks, so we’re not going to get back to business as usual for the next three months, but the policy backdrop across the globe will help soften the blow.”






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The latest efforts to mitigate the damage include the Bank of England cutting its bank rate and increasing its bond buying program, the European Central Bank launching a 750 billion euro ($815 billion) debt-buying plan, and the Federal Reserve’s support for money-market mutual funds. South Africa cut interest rates and Germany may authorize emergency debt issuance.

But looming over everything is the question of how long the economic downturn will last as coronavirus cases surge in the U.S. and Europe. The number of dead in Italy has surpassed those in China.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index fell 0.7% as of 10:50 a.m. in Hong Kong. The index rose 0.5% on Thursday.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index added 3.2%.
  • The Shanghai Composite rose 0.8%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 3.6%.
  • South Korea’s Kospi rose 3.9%.
  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures climbed 0.3%.

Currencies

  • The yen rose 0.5% to 110.14 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan traded at 7.1048 per dollar, up 0.7%.
  • The euro advanced 0.5% to $1.0748.
  • The Aussie gained 2.1% to 58.66 U.S. cents.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries slid about six basis points to 1.14% Thursday. Futures were flat on Friday.
  • Australian 10-year yields slumped 24 basis points to 1.25% after soaring Thursday.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 3.4% to $26.10 a barrel.
  • Gold was at $1,484.35 an ounce, up 0.9%.

— With assistance by Sophie Caronello

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