Market Overview

Asian stocks hit 20-month lows, S&P futures slide as investors flee risk

Asian shares skidded to 20-month lows, S&P futures fell sharply and China’s yuan weakened at the end of a turbulent week for financial markets on Friday, as anxiety over corporate profits added to lingering fears about global trade and economic growth. The gloom enveloping Asia was at odds with a bounce on Wall Street overnight, highlighting fragile investor confidence, as shares of tech titans Inc and Alphabet Inc fell sharply after the closing bell on disappointing earnings.

In Friday’s Asian session, S&P E-mini futures slumped 0.88 percent, setting up a potentially rough session for U.S. markets which had crumbled on Wednesday on concerns about earnings and sent global equities into a tailspin. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dropped 1.04 percent, erasing tiny gains made in the opening hour and hitting its lowest level since February 2017. Not helping was a slide in the Chinese yuan past a key level, refocusing market attention on slowing growth in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Shares in Europe are seen following Asia down, with London’s FTSE expected to open 0.9 percent lower, Germany’s DAX off 1 percent and France’s CAC 40 down 1.2 percent, according to David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK. The MSCI Asia index has been bruised by a heavy sell-off in the past several days, and is on course for its fifth weekly loss – its longest such streak since 2015. It has fallen more than 4 percent this week. In currency markets, the euro fell, extending weakness after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said the bank’s 2.6 trillion euro ($2.96 trillion) asset purchase program will end this year and interest rates could rise after next summer, despite fears about the monetary union’s economic and political future.

Asian stocks hit 20-month lows, S&P futures slide as investors flee risk, Reuters, Oct 26
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