Asian shares hold on to gains but virus keeps markets on edge

Asian shares clung to gains on Wednesday, helped by a bounce in Australian shares, but risks for equities remain large as the coronavirus pandemic rattles the underpinnings of the global economy.

Asian shares

  • E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 traded 1.39% lower in Asian trade, highlighting the cautious mood.
  • MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.23%.
  • Australian shares jumped by 2.87%, reversing a 2% decline on Tuesday, as a slowdown in new coronavirus cases and rising iron ore prices lifted the market.

Currencies

  • The dollar bounced in Asia, rising 0.28% to 107.86 yen and gaining 0.36% to $1.2375 per British pound as investors adjusted positions before the release of U.S. manufacturing data.
  • The dollar fell broadly on Tuesday after the U.S. Federal Reserve said it will allow foreign central banks to exchange their holdings of U.S. Treasury securities for overnight dollar loans to ease a dollar funding crunch.

Bonds

  • The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note eased slightly to 0.6554%.

Commodities

  • U.S. crude held steady at $20.49 a barrel, but Brent crude fell 2.09% to $25.80 per barrel as the United States, Russia, and Saudi Arabia jostle over a massive oversupply of oil.

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