Asian investors were expecting a mixed day of trading after Wall Street peaked on Thursday, pushed upward by continued optimism about economic stimulus to counteract the COVID-19 pandemic promised by newly inaugurated US President Joe Biden.
“The markets had such a strong run yesterday after the presidential inauguration in the US and the run-up to that, that the lead coming in from the US is a bit messy,” said Shane Oliver, chief economist at investment manager AMP Capital in Sydney.
“A lot of the good news is out there. I suspect a fairly flat day.”
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.02%.
Australia’s ASX 200 fell 0.08% in early trade Friday.
On Thursday, the Nikkei 225 index closed up .82%, and the futures contract is now down 0.49% from the close.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were down 0.17%.
On Wall Street, both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed at record highs on Thursday, up .03% and .55%, respectively.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.04%. It had been poised for a record until falling into negative territory in the final minutes of trading.
The US dollar fell on Thursday for the third straight session, as investors ploughed their money into higher-yielding currencies on optimism about a recovery from the pandemic in the world’s largest economy.
US Treasury yields on the longer end of the curve inched up along with inflation expectations on Thursday as the market eyed the prospect for additional debt supply under Biden’s administration.
Oil prices steadied on Thursday after data showed an unexpected increase in US crude inventories that revived pandemic-related fuel demand concerns.
Hopes for a US stimulus package also lifted prices.
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