Asian stocks and Wall Street futures have fallen as spiking coronavirus cases in some US states and China crushed hopes of a quick global economic comeback from the pandemic.
S&P 500 mini futures fell 1.2 per cent in early Asian trade while MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost as much as 1 per cent.
Japan’s Nikkei lost 1.3 per cent while in mainland China, bluechip CSI300 shares shed 0.1 per cent in early trade.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 lost 0.36 per cent on Wednesday but tech-heavy Nasdaq added 0.15 per cent due to hopes of increased demand for various online services due to the epidemic.
Several US states including Oklahoma, where President Donald Trump plans a campaign rally on Saturday, reported a surge in new coronavirus infections.
The daily count of infections also hit a new benchmark in California and Texas, while Florida and Arizona also recorded the second-highest daily increases.
China’s capital cancelled scores of flights, shut schools and blocked off some neighbourhoods as it ramped up efforts to contain a coronavirus outbreak that has fanned fears of wider contagion.
“It is a big shock to markets that China, which appears to have successfully quashed the disease, is seeing a second wave. And in the US we see record cases in many states,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
“All this suggests that the more you re-start the economy, the more infections you have. People have thought the economy will quickly recover in July-September after dismal April-June. But that is now becoming uncertain.”
Investors rushed to the safety of bonds, with the 10-year US Treasuries yield falling 3 basis points to 0.704 per cent.
In the currency market, the safe-haven yen rose about 0.3 per cent to 106.72 per dollar while the US dollar also firmed against risk-sensitive currencies.
The euro dipped 0.1 per cent to $US1.1235 while the Australian dollar lost 0.4 per cent to $US0.6852, also hit by worse than expected employment data.
Australia’s unemployment rate jumped to the highest in about two decades in May as nearly a quarter of a million people lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic-driven shutdowns.
Oil prices also dropped with US crude futures falling 1.9 per cent to $US37.49 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent lost 1.4 per cent to $US40.14 a barrel.