Stocks Pare Losses, Yuan Fluctuates on Virus News: Markets Wrap

Stocks pared early losses in Asian trading Monday as investors continued trying to gauge when economic activity might rebound after the hit from the coronavirus.

Benchmarks in Hong Kong and Seoul fell more than 1% early on, with losses in Shanghai and Tokyo slightly less, and U.S. futures dropped 0.7%. Those moves faded after a report that Apple Inc.’s main manufacturer got a green light to resume some production. The Australian dollar climbed and the yuan rose past 7 per dollar offshore. Treasuries are flat, while oil trades around $50 a barrel in New York.

With cases outside of China continuing to increase, investors will be monitoring whether the rate of change kicks up a gear. Meantime, monetary authorities across emerging markets have stepped in. The People’s Bank of China moved to keep liquidity ample Monday through reverse-repurchase agreements.

“This coronavirus seems to be going on for longer, is infecting more people and the hit to growth will be longer,” Diana Mousina, an economist at AMP Capital Investors Ltd., told Bloomberg TV in Sydney. “You won’t be able to recoup all of the negative impacts in the first quarter.”

Here are some key events coming up:

Earnings season continues with reports including: Alibaba, Softbank, Nissan, Airbus, Nestle and AIG.Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell delivers his semiannual testimony in Congress on Tuesday and Wednesday.Thursday brings a gauge of underlying U.S. inflation, the core consumer price index. It’s expected to increase to 0.2% in January, a faster pace than in December.China and the U.S. on Friday lower tariffs on billions of dollars of respective imports, as part of the trade deal signed last month.

And these are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

Japan’s Topix index dropped 0.4%. as of 11:25 a.m. in Tokyo.The Shanghai Composite Index was up 0.2%Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index declined 0.5%.Futures on the S&P 500 were up 0.1%. The underlying gauge fell 0.5% on Friday.South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 0.7%.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slid 0.2%.

Currencies

The yen was little changed at 109.85 per dollar.The offshore yuan ticked up 0.1% to 6.9988 per dollar.The euro bought $1.0953, little changed.The Australian dollar gained 0.4% to 67.01 U.S. cents.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries was steady at 1.59%.Australia’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to 1.02%.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude oil fell 0.2% to $50.21 a barrel.Gold was little changed at $1,570.32 an ounce.