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Stocks Climb on Vaccine Update; Dollar Declines: Markets Wrap

A visitor looks at the trading floor at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), operated by Japan Exchange Group Inc. (JPX), in Tokyo, Japan, on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017. Equity indexes in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea rose Wednesday after U.S. stocks rebounded from losses initially sparked when Kim's regime fired a missile over Japan. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

Asian stocks climbed along with US and European equity futures on Wednesday amid optimism that progress is being made in developing a defence against the coronavirus. The dollar retreated.

Shares in Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and Australia gained and S&P 500 contracts rose as Moderna Inc.’s Covid-19 vaccine produced antibodies in all patients tested in an initial safety trial. Chinese shares underperformed. U.S. shares closed higher Tuesday in a volatile session, with banks mixed after JPMorgan Chase & Co. reported strong trading results, while Wells Fargo & Co. tumbled. Treasury yields rose.

The yen was steady after the Bank of Japan kept its main policy settings unchanged and warned risks to the economy were to the downside. Governor Haruhiko Kuroda will speak at a press briefing later Wednesday.

S&P 500 futures climbed on Moderna vaccine update

Risk asset volatility remains high, with equities largely treading water over the past month as worries about new virus cases are offset by optimism over stimulus spending and the economic recovery. Still, as new outbreaks appear around the world, officials are putting stricter measures in place to control the spread.

“It’s this tug-of-war between the forward-looking assumption around a vaccine and treatment versus what is happening today as it relates to cases, the mortality rate and, more broadly, the spread,” said Matt Miskin, co-chief investment strategist at John Hancock Investment Management.

Meantime, President Donald Trump said he issued an order to end Hong Kong’s special status with the U.S. and signed legislation that would sanction Chinese officials responsible for cracking down on political dissent in Hong Kong, the latest escalation in tensions between the world’s largest economies.

Elsewhere, oil extended gains following a report showing U.S. crude stockpiles declined last week.

Here are some key events coming up:

  • The EIA crude oil inventory report is due Wednesday.
  • China releases second-quarter GDP on Thursday as well as key economic indicators for June.
  • The European Central Bank meets to set monetary policy on Thursday, with President Christine Lagarde holding a virtual press conference afterward.

These are some of the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • Futures on the S&P 500 added 0.8% as of 11:57 a.m. in Tokyo. The index rose 1.3% on Tuesday.
  • Japan’s Topix index gained 1.3%.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2%.
  • The Shanghai Composite fell 1%.
  • South Korea’s Kospi index climbed 0.7%.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 1.2%.
  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures advanced 1.3%.

Currencies

  • The yen was at 107.28 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan traded at 6.9951 per dollar, up 0.2%.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.2%.
  • The euro bought $1.1413, up 0.1%.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose two basis points to 0.64%.
  • Australia’s 10-year yield slid one basis point to 0.90%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude advanced 0.5% to $40.50 a barrel.
  • Gold was at $1,809.59 an ounce, little changed.
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