Asian markets bounce back after sell-off driven by rising Covid-19 cases
Tokyo — Asian stocks rose on Thursday, extending a rebound in global markets after a sharp sell-off earlier this week, while oil prices eased again on worries that rising Covid-19 cases in some countries will dampen fuel demand.
Japan led gains, with the Nikkei 225 rallying 2%, after sliding about 2% in each of the last two sessions.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3%, after a 0.9% decline the previous day.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rallied 0.5%, but mainland China shares were weaker, weighed down by persistent worries over Sino-US tensions. Chinese blue chips slipped 0.1%.
European futures pointed to higher opens, with Euro Stoxx 50 futures and Britain’s FTSE futures up 0.5% each.
“Overall, I think markets are still skewed to taking on risk, and I don’t think we’ve seen the final record high by any means in the US stock market or in global equities,” said Kyle Rodda, a market analyst at IG in Melbourne.
“At the end of the day, [the sell-off earlier this week] was just markets whipping around as the froth has blown off risk assets.”
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe added 0.2% on Thursday, after a 0.4% gain overnight, to take it back to within 1% of its all-time closing high.
On Tuesday, the index had slumped 0.8%, the most in four weeks, as market sentiment soured amid concerns that record coronavirus infections in India, likely restrictions in Japan and rising cases in Latin America will hamper the global economic recovery.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 rose 0.9%, reversing two days of declines, to finish Wednesday’s session just 12 points below its record close.
S&P futures pointed to a softer open later on Thursday though, declining 0.2%.
“The ‘buy the dip’ mentality appears to be back in equities,” Tapas Strickland, an analyst at National Australia Bank, wrote in a client note.
Oil prices slipped for a third day on concerns that surging Covid-19 cases in India will drive down fuel demand in the world's third-biggest oil importer, while a surprise build in US stockpiles added to the negative tone.
US crude fell 29 US cents on Thursday to $61.06 a barrel and Brent was down 29c to $65.03.
Spot gold edged lower to $1,791.04/oz.
US treasury yields stayed depressed, with the yield on benchmark 10-year notes down three basis points at 1.5345% on Thursday, languishing near the lowest since March 12.
In currency markets, the dollar remained pinned near multi-week lows against major peers as US yields stayed subdued.
The dollar stood at ¥107.935, close to a seven-week low, while the euro was quoted at $1.2034, not far from its strongest since March 3.
The European Central Bank decides policy later on Thursday, with no change expected.
The US Federal Reserve and Bank of Japan follow next week.
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