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Asia stocks set for choppy session after S&P 500 hits record high

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(Reuters) – Asian stocks are expected to experience a choppy trading session on Friday after tech stocks took the S&P 500 to a new high even as investors weighed an unexpected increase in the number of Americans filing new claims for benefits unemployment.

FILE PHOTO: Passers-by wearing face masks are reflected on a stock quote board outside a brokerage house, amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan November 10, 2020. REUTERS / Issei Kato

A report on jobless claims in the United States showed a second consecutive weekly increase earlier Thursday, countering a string of strong economic data from payrolls and vacancies that had boosted investor confidence in a rapid economic rebound. .

The weaker data helped benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields fall to their lowest level since March 26 and boost demand for high-growth stocks in the tech sector, which has been the biggest winner of the S&P 500. also closed at a seven-week high on Thursday.

The jobless claims set the tone in the market that things may not be as strong as people think and were still far from a recovery, said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

Australian S & P / ASX 200 futures were up 0.03% early in trading, while Hong Kongs Hang Seng index futures fell 0.17%. Japanese Nikkei 225 futures rose 0.45%.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell signaled on Thursday that the central bank was far from reducing its support for the US economy, saying at an International Monetary Fund event that if the economic reopening could result in a momentary surge prices, he expects it to be temporary. and it will not constitute inflation.

Powells’ comments reaffirmed the accommodating position set out in the federal government’s policy meeting minutes released on Wednesday.

Aided by the further decline in yields, traders crowded into mega-cap tech stocks such as Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp and Amazon.com Inc, which were the main drivers of the S&P 500.

Market movement was driven by rates, said Thomas Hayes, chairman of Great Hill Capital. As long as rates remain compressed, there is a supply of long lasting profit power, which has been embodied in the technology rally.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.17% to 33,503.57, the S&P 500 0.42% to 4,097.17 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.03% to 13,829.31.

U.S. Treasury yields fell on Thursday, under pressure from accommodating comments from Powells and weaker-than-expected initial weekly jobless claims.

The benchmark 10-year notes last rose 9/32 to a yield of 1.6244%, down from 1.654% on Wednesday night.

The US dollar fell to a two-week low against a basket of currencies, following Treasury yields after the surprise surge in US jobless claims.

The dollar index fell 0.379%, the euro rose 0.03% to $ 1.1916

The Japanese yen weakened 0.05% against the greenback at 109.31 per dollar, while the South Korean won was stable against the greenback at 1116.18 per dollar.

Gold prices surged to a one-month high as assurances from the Fed to maintain its accommodative policy weighed on Treasury yields and the greenback.

Spot gold added 1.1% to $ 1,756.36 an ounce. US gold futures stabilized about 1% at $ 1,758.2.

Crude oil prices were little changed as Wall Streets rebounded and the weak dollar offset concerns over a sharp rise in gasoline inventories in the United States.

US crude fell 0.28% to $ 59.60 a barrel, while Brent came in at $ 63.20 a barrel, up 0.06% on the day.

Report by Chibuike Oguh in New York; Editing by Christopher Cushing

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