Asian stocks slipped Friday as investors weighed signs of progress in the fight against the coronavirus against data showing the severity of the impact on economies. Oil climbed back above $17 a barrel.
Japanese shares dipped along with those in Korea, while Australian equities fluctuated. S&P 500 contracts edged lower after the gauge erased a 1.6% gain in Thursday’s session to end little changed. Gilead Sciences Inc.’s antiviral drug remdesivir flopped in its first randomized clinical trial, the Financial Times reported, citing draft documents published accidentally by the World Health Organization. The drug company disputed that characterization. Treasuries held overnight gains and the dollar was little changed.
A rebound in global stocks has stalled following two weeks of strong gains, as investors assess a flurry of earnings reports along with economic data and the latest news on the virus. Data from the U.S. showed total job losses now exceed 26 million in the wake of the economic shutdown prompted by the pandemic.
”There is a long list of pretty jaw-dropping data, just in the last 24 hours,” Nerida Cole, managing director at Dixon Advisory, said on Bloomberg TV. “Market pricing is certainly on the optimistic side that it will be a rosy path out of this crisis and that’s where investors do need to be quite careful.”
Meanwhile, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde told EU leaders they’ve done too little, too late to contain the outbreak. In Japan, traders are considering the implications of a Nikkei report that the Bank of Japan may replace its government bond-purchase target to allow unlimited buying.
On the virus front, U.S. cases rose at the slowest pace in three weeks and Texas infections increased for a third day. California reported the most fatalities in one 24-hour period.
Elsewhere, oil rebounded as traders eye a production slowdown that has resulted from the coronavirus-led weaker demand environment.
These were the main moves in markets:
- Futures on the S&P 500 fell 0.5% as of 9:08 a.m. in Tokyo. The S&P 500 closed little changed on Thursday.
- Japan’s Topix index fell 0.8%.
- South Korea’s Kospi declined 0.6%. .
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed.
- The yen was at 107.67 per dollar, little changed.
- The offshore yuan traded at 7.0945 per dollar.
- The euro bought $1.0779.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries remained at 0.60%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude rose 5.2% to $17.31 a barrel.
- Gold was at $1,730.76 an ounce, little changed.