Covid concerns ease in Asia markets
The Covid-19 nerves appear to be disappearing in the back mirror faster than expected, with Asia-Pacific markets flat to slightly higher now in morning trading. That has been helped along by US index futures moving slightly into the green in the past hour after falling at the open early today.
Pandemic nerves are likely to be drowned out this week as it progresses as the pace of the data calendar picks up. This week’s calendar is heavy with tier-1 releases, notably China’s Industrial Profits on Tuesday and Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing PMIs on Friday in Asia. Wednesday will be busy in the US, as the FOMC holds a policy meeting, followed by Advance GDP.
On Friday, Wall Street shrugged off the capital gains tax fears of the day before to close out the week on a solid note after strong US factory data. The S&P 500 rose 1.09%, with the Nasdaq rallying 1.44%, led by big-tech. Meanwhile, the Dow Jones rose by 0.66%, and despite the tail-chasing noise of last week, all three major indices finished not far from where they started for the week.
In Asia today, the Nikkei 225 has recovered its poise to rise 0.26%, while the Kospi has risen 0.60%, with the Taiex climbing 0.90% on the inevitable semi-conductor tailwind. Mainland China’s Shanghai Composite is up 0.50%, with the CSI climbing 0.80% and the Hang Seng lagging, rising just 0.30%.
Regional Asia sees Singapore gain 0.20%, with Kuala Lumpur climbing 0.45% and Jakarta easing by 0.25%. Covid-19 restrictions have pushed Bangkok 0.40% lower, while in Australia, the All Ordinaries and ASX 200 are almost unchanged.
Tech-heavy markets are modestly outperforming cyclical ones in Asia today, reflecting the price movements of Wall Street on Friday. That implies that Europe and the UK should expect a modestly positive start. Overall, markets seem content to mark time in anticipation of an accelerating data calendar starting tomorrow, and ahead of US tech-heavyweight earnings this week.
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