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Asia stocks set for steady open as virus fear ebbs


Asian stocks looked set for a steady start on Tuesday after U.S. shares rebounded amid easing concerns about the impact of the omicron coronavirus strain on global reopening.

Futures for Japan and Australia rose while Hong Kong's slipped. The S&P 500 wiped out its November losses and the technology-heavy Nasdaq 100 more than recouped Friday's rout.

Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields rose to about 1.5% but are below pre-omicron levels. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the variant poses risks to both sides of the central bank's mandate for stable prices and maximum employment.

Commodity-linked currencies gained against the U.S. dollar Monday as oil retraced a portion of its Friday slump. Separately, traders are awaiting purchasing-manager indexes from China to assess the outlook for the second-largest economy.

President Joe Biden cautioned Americans against panicking over the new variant and said lockdowns won't be necessary, while pharmaceutical firms are working on adapting vaccines. Scientists are still evaluating of the strain, which has already buffeted international travel and could add to inflation pressures if it exacerbates supply-chain disruptions.

"We'll get a new variant, we'll get new waves but the market, and we all as investors, see how that might play out," Jason Brady, president at Thornburg Investment Management, said on Bloomberg Television. "I'm much more interested in inflation and potentially rising rates causing some of the market leaders of 2020 and 2021 to falter a little bit more."

Powell, in prepared testimony released Monday, said the "recent rise in covid-19 cases and the emergence of the omicron variant pose downside risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation."

He didn't discuss specific monetary policy actions or the possibility of changing the pace of the tapering of Fed bond purchases -- a key issue that other officials have flagged in recent remarks.

Meanwhile, crude oil pared a gain of as much as 7% from Friday's rout. In cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin traded above $58,000, maintaining a recent rally.

Some key events to watch this week:

--Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will appear at a Senate Banking Committee hearing alongside Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday. They're set to speak again on the following day at the House Financial Services Committee.

--China PMIs, Tuesday

--Euro zone CPI, Tuesday

--U.S. Conference Board consumer confidence, Tuesday

--China Caixin manufacturing PMI, Wednesday

--Euro zone manufacturing PMI, Wednesday

--U.S. construction spending, ISM Manufacturing, Fed's Beige Book on Wednesday

--OPEC, allies may re-evaluate plans for reviving oil supplies, Thursday

--U.S. initial jobless claims, Thursday

--U.S. jobs report, factory orders, durable goods on Friday

Some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

--The S&P 500 rose 1.3%

--The Nasdaq 100 rose 2.3%

--Nikkei 225 futures rose 0.5%

--Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index futures rose 0.6%

--Hang Seng Index futures fell 0.1%

Currencies

--The Japanese yen was at 113.57 per dollar

--The offshore yuan traded at 6.3866 per dollar

--The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1%

--The euro was at $1.1290

Bonds

--The yield on 10-year Treasuries advanced three basis points to 1.50%

Commodities

--West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2.6% to $69.95 a barrel

--Gold was at $1,784.67 an ounce

Published : November 30, 2021

By : Bloomberg