World markets were mixed as investors gauged the possible effects of easing lockdowns to combat the coronavirus.
S&P 500 futures rose 0.8% ahead of the opening bell Wednesday, while the Stoxx Europe 600 benchmark was broadly flat. China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.6% on its first trading day since Thursday, after a five-day holiday.
South Korea’s Kospi Composite rose 1.8%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.4%. Japanese stocks will resume trading Thursday.
Caroline Yu Maurer, head of greater China equities at BNP Paribas Asset Management, said consumption inside China was showing signs of improvement, but a bigger question for investors in the country’s shares would be the pace and extent of recoveries in the U.S. and Europe.
“If overseas consumption resumes to normality in the next couple of months, then the drag on China exports can be manageable,” Ms. Maurer said.
“The direction for China equities remains murky for the next couple of quarters. The concern is whether there will be global resurgence [of the virus] in autumn and winter,” she added.
Cliff Tan, East Asian head of global markets research at MUFG Bank, said infections could resurge as lockdowns ease, but this scenario hadn’t been factored into markets much.
He said while central-bank support meant stocks were unlikely to fall back to their March lows, they could possibly approach those levels. On the other hand, he said Asian currencies could rally in the third quarter if data showed the pandemic was under control.
The Trump administration is considering disbanding the White House’s coronavirus task force, officials said, despite the virus’s spread around the country.
The onshore Chinese yuan, resuming trading after holidays, weakened nearly 0.4% against the dollar. The WSJ Dollar Index, which tracks the dollar against 16 currencies, was unchanged, while the Japanese yen firmed 0.2% against the greenback.
Oil futures retreated slightly, after jumping Tuesday. Prices for June delivery of West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, fell 0.65% to $24.42 a barrel. The global equivalent, Brent crude, declined 0.6% to $30.78.
The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to 0.662%, from 0.656% on Tuesday.
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