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Asian stocks set to dip after U.S. halts stimulus talks


By Imani Moise

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian stocks were set to open lower on Wednesday, weighed by a weaker Wall Street finish after U.S. President Donald Trump dashed hopes for a fourth stimulus package with a tweet.

Futures for the S&P 500 fell 0.58% in early trading, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 futures and {{178|Japan’s NiNikkei 225 futures (NKc1) lost 0.29% and 0.17%, respectively.

Wall Street had initially moved higher on Tuesday on news that President Trump had returned to the White House from his COVID-19 hospitalization, removing some of the political uncertainty that hit investor sentiment last week.

However, those gains sharply reversed when the president announced on Twitter that he had halted negotiations for additional stimulus until after the election.

Reviving the political uncertainty, a growing number of senior U.S. government official have tested positive for coronavirus after President Trump disclosed his own diagnosis. Most recently, most members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stopped in-person meetings and went into quarantine after a coast guard official tested positive.

Earlier on Tuesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned that the world’s largest economy was in for a weak recovery without more fiscal support.

Central bank watchers will get a more detailed look at board members’ views on the economy when the Fed releases its minutes early Wednesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) fell 1.34%, the S&P 500 (SPX) lost 1.40% and the Nasdaq Composite (IXIC) dropped 1.57%.

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.64%.

Spot gold also fell on the news, dropping 1.4% to $1,886.01 per ounce by the end of the session and continued to slide after hours.

Tuesday’s declines may have been an overreaction as some market players had already priced in a failure in talks between Republicans and Democrats.

“Our view for some time was a stimulus agreement was unlikely before the 3 November presidential election,” Head of International Economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC:CMWAY) Joseph Capurso said in a note.

The Trump administration’s about-face also fueled safe-haven demand for the dollar and U.S. Treasuries.

The dollar index (=USD) rose 0.468%, with the euro (EUR=) down 0.04% to $1.1729.

On Tuesday, U.S. 10-year yields (US10YT=RR) rose to 0.773% from 0.762% late on Monday while 30-year yields (US30YT=RR) grew to 1.585%, up from 1.567%.

Oil prices closed higher as hurricanes off the Gulf of Mexico and a worker strike in Norway threatened to curb supply, but post-close trading points to a lower open.

Brent crude futures (LCOc1) fell to $42.19 a barrel in after-hours trading after settling at $42.65, and U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude (CLc1) dropped to $40.13 a barrel from $40.67.

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