Market Overview

Asian stocks edge higher as Biden cements presidential win

Asian shares eked out gains on Friday and U.S. stock futures turned higher after U.S. president-elect Joe Biden was projected to win the battleground state of Arizona, cementing his win for the office. The projection by Edison Research dealt another blow to President Donald Trump’s struggling effort to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election.

S&P 500 e-mini futures EScv1 inched out of negative territory on the news but without much conviction, and were last up just 0.03%. European futures remained resolutely dour, with pan-region Euro Stoxx 50 futures STXEc1 down 0.67%, German DAX futures FDXc1 down 0.6% and FTSE futures FFIc1 off 1.1%.

That came after selloffs in the United States and Europe on Thursday as investors feared the economic impact of accelerating coronavirus infections. The United States has reported fresh daily records for new COVID-19 case hospitalisations this week, prompting cities and states, including Chicago, Detroit and California, to re-impose public health restrictions.

European officials have also warned against complacency and said measures to control infections must continue despite hopes that vaccines under development could help to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Thursday during a discussion with other central bankers that progress in developing a coronavirus vaccine was welcome news but that near-term economic risks remain as infections accelerate, underscoring the likely need for additional government stimulus.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asian shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS edged up 0.1%, reversing earlier losses. For the week it rose about 0.7%. But apart from a 0.71% gain in Seoul’s Kospi .KS11, most major regional indexes were lower on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 .N225 fell 0.57%. Some investors saw a buying opportunity in the market weakness.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 1.08%, pulled lower by industrial and financial companies sensitive to economic growth. The S&P 500 .SPX lost 1.00% and the technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 0.65%. U.S. Treasury yields also sank on Thursday, weighed down by the persistent rise in coronavirus cases and data showing inflation remained benign in the world’s largest economy. The U.S. yield curve, viewed in part as a gauge of risk appetite, also flattened.

On Friday, U.S. yields continued to tick lower, with benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR yielding 0.8701%, compared to a Thursday close of 0.886%.

An unexpected rise in U.S. crude stockpiles exacerbated virus-linked economic fears in commodity markets, pushing U.S. crude 1.85% lower to $40.36 per barrel. Global benchmark Brent crude dropped 1.47% to $42.89. Spot gold gained 0.18% to $1,879.06 per ounce.

Asian stocks edge higher as Biden cements presidential win, Reuters, Nov 13

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