Asia-Pacific markets set to be subdued as investor caution prevails

  • In Japan, futures pointed to a lower open, as compared to the Nikkei 225's last close.
  • Japan is due to report its trade data for October in the morning.
  • U.S. stocks fell overnight as the market's recent rally cooled off, with coronavirus cases continuing to surge in the country.
  • The U.S. dollar index continued its slide from earlier in the week.

SINGAPORE — Asia-Pacific markets were set to be subdued in Wednesday trade, as investor caution prevailed with coronavirus cases continuing to surge despite vaccine hopes. Meanwhile, the dollar continued its slide.

In Japan, futures pointed to a lower open, as compared to the Nikkei 225's last close. The country is due to report its trade data for October in the morning.

Investors will watch SoftBank shares after CEO Masayoshi Son said he aggressively sold assets this year to prepare for a "worst case scenario" in which the world shuts down in a second wave of coronavirus outbreaks.

Over in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.30%.

U.S. stocks fell overnight as the market's recent rally cooled off. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 167.09 points, or 0.6%, to close at 29,783.35. The S&P 500 dipped 0.5% to 3,609.53, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.2% to 11,899.34.

"Markets were subdued overnight as COVID case numbers damped down the longer-term positivity that a vaccine could deliver. Data overnight showed consumer confidence is waning and retail spending easing," wrote Rahul Khare, an analyst at ANZ Research.

Earlier this week, Wall Street had climbed to record highs after Moderna announced data from its coronavirus vaccine trial — which came days after Pfizer's upbeat news on its own vaccine candidate.

Still, coronavirus cases continued to surge in the country, dampening optimism. The U.S. seven-day average of daily new Covid infections surpassed 150,000 for the first time on Monday, according to a CNBC analysis of Johns Hopkins data.

On Tuesday, U.S. Fed Chair Jerome Powell warned that the surge in cases is a concern for an economic recovery that has "a long way to go."

Disappointing U.S. retail sales also weighed on sentiment, with data showing it increased less than expected in October.

Dollar continues sliding

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, continued its slide from earlier in the week. It was at 92.438, following levels above 92.6 earlier.

Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, wrote in a note that "demand for dollars should be limited by the fear of further restrictions on business activity."

The Japanese yen continued strengthening, trading at 104.18 per dollar, as compared to levels above 104.5 earlier. The Australian dollar was at 0.7289, weakening from earlier.

What's on tap (all times in HK/SIN):

7:50 a.m.: Japan's exports, imports for October

Subscribe to CNBC PRO to access live PRO Talks live, including our Dec. 2 discussion on opportunities and risks in international markets.

Source: Read Full Article