Stocks in Asia Head for Third Day of Gains: Markets Wrap

Stocks in Asia extended a rally into a third day on light volumes as investors weighed signs of a slowing rate of coronavirus spread against more fatalities. Oil continued to swing ahead of a key meeting of suppliers.

Japanese shares climbed more than 1%, with shares in Korea and Australia also higher. Hong Kong and China underperformed. S&P 500 futures rose to session highs as of 6 a.m. in London after fluctuating earlier, following a rocky session Tuesday when gains fizzled late in the day. The Australian dollar slipped after S&P Global Ratings cut the country’s credit-rating outlook to negative from stable. Treasuries were steady after this week’s dip.

While the S&P 500 briefly reached a 20% gain from its March low on Tuesday, the highest coronavirus death tolls yet in the U.K. and New York State reminded investors the outbreak is far from contained. Still, New York’s number of new cases slowed and Italy reported its fewest new infections since March 13. Several European nations planned to ease restrictions.

“As the quarter progresses, investors start to understand that everything we’re seeing is in the form of assistance and aid to just tide the economy over,” Bob Michele, global chief investment officer at JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg TV. “It’s not stimulus that gets the economy going at a much higher rate than where it is.”

29,556 in U.S.Most new cases today

-21% Change in MSCI World Index of global stocks since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

-1.​005 Change in U.S. treasury bond yield since Wuhan lockdown, Jan. 23

Oil edged up after sinking to the weakest level since the start of the month. Investors are weighing whether the world’s biggest producers will be able to strike a deal that cuts enough output to offset an unprecedented demand loss from the coronavirus outbreak.

Elsewhere, the kiwi edged lower after New Zealand’s central bank said it isopen to increasing the size and scope of its asset-purchase program.

These are the main moves in markets:


  • Futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.6% as of 6:02 a.m. in London. The index lost 0.2% on Tuesday.
  • Japan’s Topix index added 1.1%.
  • The Shanghai Composite slid 0.3%.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.8%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.9%.
  • Kospi Index added 0.3%.
  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures slipped 0.3%.


  • The yen was at 108.90 per dollar, down 0.1%.
  • The offshore yuan traded at 7.0768 per dollar, down 0.1%.
  • The euro slid 0.2% to $1.0866.
  • The kiwi lost 0.4% to 59.51 U.S. cents.
  • The Aussie lost 0.7% to 61.28 U.S. cents.


  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 0.72%.
  • Australia’s 10-year yield edged up to 0.95%.


  • West Texas crude rose 5.8% to $25.02 a barrel after tumbling on Tuesday.
  • Gold was flat at $1,648 an ounce.

— With assistance by Min Jeong Lee

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