Asia Stocks Set for Muted Start; U.S. Futures Drop: Markets Wrap

Asian stocks are set for a muted start to trading Tuesday as investors weighed the latest batch of headlines on global growth and trade, without any direction offered from American markets that were shut for a holiday Monday.

Australian shares ticked lower and futures in the region were little changed after stocks in Europe slipped on Monday. Contracts on the S&P 500 Index declined. The dollar was steady and bonds in Europe were mixed. News that the IMF was cutting its global growthforecast to the weakest in three years merely cemented an already downbeat mood. The offshore yuan was steady after President Xi Jinping stressed the need to maintain political stability in an unusual meeting that suggested fresh concerns about the implications of the slowing economy.

Investors find themselves caught between a stellar start to the year and increasingly hazy prospects for global growth and trade. Optimism on U.S-China talks has faded somewhat, after a Bloomberg report that the two sides are makinglittle progress on the key issue of intellectual property protection.

Elsewhere, the pound erased a loss and turned higher as U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May failed to rule out a delay to the March 29 Brexit departure date and the main opposition Labour party called for a vote that could pave the way to a second referendum. Oil steadied near a two-month high in New York.

These are some events investors will be watching out for in the coming days:

  • Earnings season is in full swing: Johnson & Johnson, IBM, UBS, United Technologies, Texas Instruments, and Ford are among companies posting results this week.
  • The World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of global leaders in politics, business and culture, opens in Davos, Switzerland on Tuesday.
  • There are monetary-policy decisions for the Bank of Japan (Wednesday), the Bank of Korea and the European Central Bank (both Thursday).

And these are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • Nikkei 225 futures were little changed in Osaka.
  • S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.1 percent.
  • Futures on the S&P 500 Index sank 0.4 percent in early trading Tuesday.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index dipped 0.2 percent.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed less than 0.05 percent.
  • The euro climbed less than 0.05 percent to $1.1368, the first advance in a week.
  • The British pound gained 0.2 percent to $1.2892.
  • The Japanese yen increased 0.1 percent to 109.68 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan was steady at 6.8003 per dollar.

Bonds

  • Germany’s 10-year yield decreased one basis point to 0.26 percent.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield declined three basis points to 1.32 percent.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude climbed 0.2 percent to $53.90 a barrel, reaching the highest in two months.
  • Gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,280.31 an ounce, the weakest in more than three weeks.

— With assistance by Sofia Horta e Costa

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