Asia stocks set to slip as Wall Street selloff continues into third day


Pedestrians wearing face masks walk past a monitor displaying the Nikkei 225 index on February 25 in Tokyo, Japan.

Tomohiro Ohsumi | Getty Images

Stocks in Asia were set to see decline at the open on Thursday as the sell-off on Wall Street continued overnight amid protracted fears over the coronavirus spread outside of China.

U.S. President Donald Trump is holding a press conference addressing the new coronavirus outbreak.

Ahead of that presser, futures pointed to a lower open for Japanese stocks. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 22,275 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 22,250. That compared against the Nikkei 225‘s last close at 22,426.19.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia rose in early trade following Wednesday’s declines, with the S&P/ASX 200 about 0.1% higher.

Investors will await the interest rate decision by the Bank of Korea, expected at around 9:00 a.m. HK/SIN on Thursday. The South Korean central bank is expected to lower its policy rate to a record low, according to a Reuters poll. That comes amid a recent spike in coronavirus cases. South Korea now has the most number of confirmed cases outside China, where the outbreak was first reported.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average extended its sharp weekly decline as it closed 123.77 points lower at 26,957.59. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% to 3,116.39 while the Nasdaq Composite was up just 0.2% at 8,980.77. Wednesday’s losses brought the Dow’s points losses to more than 2,000.

The moves on Wall Street came as the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield slid to 1.3% — hitting an all-time low. Bond yields fell Wednesday after Bloomberg News cited a Food and Drug Administration official saying the coronavirus was on the cusp of a pandemic. The 10-year Treasury yield was last at 1.3354%.

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The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 99.145 after seeing earlier highs above 99.2.

The Japanese yen traded at 110.40 against the dollar after touching levels above 110.5 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6545 after declining from levels around $0.66 yesterday.

Here’s a look at what’s on tap in the trading day ahead:

  • Australia: Private new capital expenditure for the fourth quarter at 08:30 a.m. HK/SIN
  • South Korea: Bank of Korea interest rate decision at 09:00 a.m. HK/SIN



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