(Bloomberg) — Asian stocks are set for a steady start Monday as investors await key Chinese data to gauge how the delta virus strain is impacting the recovery from the pandemic. The dollar was little changed in early trading.
Futures fell in Japan and Australia and inched higher in Hong Kong. U.S. stocks eked out another record Friday, though a drop in consumer sentiment to a near-decade low injected some caution and spurred a rally in Treasuries.
China retail sales and industrial production numbers will probably show growth slowed in July amid mobility curbs to fight a virus outbreak and flooding. Investors are already unnerved by a government crackdown on private industries, and speculation is growing that officials could further ease monetary policy.
Equities in the U.S. and Europe pushed on to all-time highs last week, bolstered by vaccine rollouts and ongoing stimulus support. But the fast-spreading delta variant and inflationary pressures remain among the key threats to shares. The virus is weighing more heavily on Asia, as the region struggles to accelerate inoculations. Covid-19 cases were at or near records in Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines.
“Shares remain vulnerable to a short-term correction with possible triggers being the upswing in global coronavirus cases, the inflation scare and U.S. taper talk,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital.
Investors will be monitoring the Federal Open Market Committee’s latest minutes this week and a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell for more clues about the likely timeline for a tapering in the central bank’s $120 billion in monthly bond purchases.
Elsewhere, Bitcoin was trading around $47,000 and the total market value of cryptocurrencies was back above $2 trillion.
For more market analysis read our MLIV blog.
These are the main moves in markets:
- The S&P 500 rose 0.2% Friday
- The Nasdaq 100 rose 0.3%
- Nikkei 225 futures fell 0.5%
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index futures dipped 0.1%
- Hang Seng Index futures rose 0.1% earlier
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.5% Friday
- The euro was at $1.1796
- The Japanese yen traded at 109.68 per dollar
- The offshore yuan was at 6.4780 per dollar
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries declined eight basis points to 1.28%
- West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.9% to $68.44 a barrel
- Gold rose 1.5% to $1,779.74 an ounce
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