Asian equities are ending the week in a cautious fashion as investors assess valuations following the rapid rise in global stocks this month and the enduring pandemic in parts of Europe and the US Oil retreated amid rising tensions within OPEC+ members.
Shares underperformed in Australia and Hong Kong, while Japan edged up, as the MSCI Asia Pacific Index remained on course for a 12% November surge. S&P 500 contracts dipped and Treasuries advanced. Volumes may be lower than average on Friday with reduced trading hours for US stocks and bonds. Bitcoin steadied after sliding almost 10% on Thursday. The dollar ticked lower and the yen outperformed.
Even with three potentially successful vaccines on the table, sentiment remains fragile as the virus toll continues to rise in Europe and the US, leading German Chancellor Angela Merkel to call on Europe’s ski resorts to close this winter. AstraZeneca Plc is likely to conduct a further global trial of its vaccine after current studies raised questions, CEO Pascal Soriot said in an interview. The task of vaccinating the world’s population is rife with logistical problems, all while the virus gains ground and economic recoveries wobble.
“Vaccine optimism continues to stir momentum going into December that could confront a slowing economy and liquidity difficulties,” said Ben Emons, managing director for global macro strategy at Medley Global Advisors. “Yet, the expectation of a full reopening of the global economy remains firmly priced.”
Political clarity has also driven risk assets this month, as President-elect Joe Biden continues his transition to power. President Donald Trump said he’ll relinquish power if the Electoral College affirms Biden’s win, but he signaled he may never formally concede defeat, and may skip the Democrat’s inauguration.
Global stocks remain on track for the best month on record, up 13%, and that’s lifted valuations to near the highest in about 20 years.
Here are some key events coming up:
- US stock market closes at 1 p.m. on Friday.
- The week ends with Black Friday, the traditional start of the US holiday shopping season.
Here are the main moves in markets:
- S&P 500 futures dipped 0.1% as of 1:32 p.m. in Tokyo.
- Japan’s Topix index rose 0.6%.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng declined 0.2%.
- South Korea’s Kospi index was little changed.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.5%.
- Euro Stoxx 50 futures slipped 0.2%.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1%.
- The euro rose 0.1% to $1.1923.
- The offshore yuan dipped 0.1% to 6.5737 per dollar.
- The yen was at 103.98 per dollar, up 0.3%.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell two basis points to 0.86%.
- Australia’s 10-year yield dipped to 0.90%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude decreased 1.5% to $45.03 a barrel.
- Gold dipped 0.4% to $1,807.86 an ounce.