Asia stocks set to dip as growth debate rages

Asia stocks set to dip as growth debate rages
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SYDNEY (Jan 24): Stocks are set for a marginally lower start across much of Asia on Thursday as investors continued to debate the outlook for economic growth amid a raft of earnings. The dollar declined and oil retreated.

Equity futures in Tokyo and Hong Kong dropped, while shares in Sydney were little changed. The S&P 500 eked out gains Wednesday after whipsawing through the day following a spate of better-than-forecast quarterly results. 

White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett said that if the partial U.S. government shutdown extends through March, there’s a chance of zero economic expansion this quarter, though “humongous” growth would follow once federal agencies reopen. Treasury yields pared earlier gains to close slightly higher.

As earnings keep rolling in, investors still have to contend with a Senate vote Thursday on legislation to reopen the government, though it’s not clear that any measures will pass. Prospects for a trade deal between the U.S. and China are keeping traders on edge amid forecasts for global growth to slow.

“Earnings expectations particularly in the U.S. are too high,” said Bridgewater co-CIO Greg Jensen in an interview on Bloomberg TV Wednesday from Davos. “And generally the Fed and other policy makers are still expecting stronger growth than we see.”

Elsewhere, the pound strengthened for a third day after signs emerged that the U.K. Parliament is moving closer to a plan for delaying Brexit. West Texas oil fell back below $53 a barrel.

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

* The World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of global leaders in politics, business and culture, continues in Davos, Switzerland.

* There are monetary-policy decisions for the Bank of Korea and the European Central Bank, both Thursday.

And these are the main moves in markets:


* Futures on the S&P 500 dipped 0.1 percent. The S&P 500 Index rose 0.2 percent Thursday.

* Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 declined 0.4 percent in Singapore. 

* Hang Seng futures dropped 0.1 percent. 

* Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed. 


* The yen fell 0.2 percent to 109.57 per dollar. 

* The offshore yuan gained 0.3 percent to 6.7947 per dollar. 

* The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.3 percent, the first drop in seven days.

* The euro rose 0.2 percent to $1.1386.

* The British pound increased 0.9 percent to $1.3069.


* The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose about one basis point to 2.75 percent.


* West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.7 percent to $52.63 a barrel.

* Gold was little changed at $1,284 an ounce.