Asian futures mixed after virus-triggered sell-off

Asian futures mixed after virus-triggered sell-off
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SYDNEY (Jan 22): Asian stocks looked set for a mixed start as investors mull reports that China’s coronavirus had migrated to the U.S. mainland.

Treasuries climbed and the yen gained Tuesday after news of the contagion, which also hit luxury stocks on concern about disruption to spending during China’s weeklong lunar new year holiday. Early trading Wednesday suggested an easing in the risk-off moves. Australian stocks and U.S. futures opened little changed. Japanese futures dipped, while Hong Kong ones pointed higher after a sharp slide in stocks there yesterday. The yuan is flat in offshore trading after tumbling Tuesday.

U.S. and European shares saw modest losses Tuesday after Asian markets bore the brunt of worries over the virus. The S&P 500 Index fell from a record high. The emergence of the illness in China -- and concerns it will now spread outside the country -- stirred memories of the SARS outbreak 17 years ago for some market watchers, though it isn’t yet deemed as serious.

“I would expect a lot of people -- candidly, like we are --that are looking for opportunities to buy rather than sell” amid the dip in stocks caused by virus-contagion worries, Lamar Villere, partner and portfolio manager at Villere & Co., said on Bloomberg TV. “I don’t think this is going to be the beginning of the end.”

Elsewhere, Germany’s DAX Index briefly surpassed the peak reached two years ago. West Texas crude held around $58 a barrel as ample global supplies offset the loss of exports from Libya.

South Korean assets may be in focus Wednesday after growth data topped estimates.

Here are some events to watch out for this week:

* Companies including Procter & Gamble and Hyundai will post results.

* Policy decisions are due from central banks in Canada, Indonesia and the euro zone.

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

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

* Futures on the S&P 500 Index were flat as of 8:01 a.m. in Tokyo. The underlying gauge fell 0.3% on Tuesday.

* Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 slid 0.4%.

* Hang Seng futures earlier rose 0.3%.

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

Currencies

* The yen was at 109.85 per dollar after dropping 0.3%.

* The offshore yuan was at 6.9102 per dollar.

* The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1%.

* The euro bought $1.1083.

Bonds

* The yield on 10-year Treasuries dipped five basis points Tuesday, to 1.77%.

* Australia’s 10-year yield fell two basis points to 1.14%.

Commodities

* West Texas Intermediate crude was at $58.34 a barrel.

* Gold was steady at $1,558.33 an ounce.