In Asian Equity Markets indices were mostly higher in Friday morning trade as concerns around the ongoing coronavirus outbreak continue to weigh on investor sentiment. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was 0.33% higher. In Japan, however, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.56% as shares of index heavyweight Fast Retailing fell 1.55%. Shares of automaker Nissan fell more than 9% after the company cut its annual operating income forecast by more than 40%. South Korea’s Kospi recovered from its earlier slip to rise 0.42%.
In Currency Markets the Japanese yen held onto gains against the dollar on Friday, as fresh doubts about the scale of the coronavirus outbreak supported demand for safe-haven currencies. The Chinese yuan nursed losses as the flu-like virus, which emerged late last year in China’s central Hubei province, slammed the brakes on consumer spending and manufacturing. The yen held steady at 109.81 per dollar in Asia on Friday, following a 0.25% gain the previous session.
In Commodities Markets oil prices were steady on Friday but are set for their first weekly gain in six weeks on the assumption major producers will implement deeper output cuts to offset slowing demand in China, the world’s second-largest crude user. Brent crude futures fell 9 cents to $56.25 a barrel, after gaining 1% the previous session. Brent is 3.3% higher for the week, the first increase since the week of Jan. 10. U.S. West WTI futures were down by 1 cent to $51.41 a barrel. The contract rose 0.5% on Thursday and is now 2.2% higher for the week.
In US Equity Markets the S&P 500 reversed its losses on Thursday as investors weighed mixed news on the coronavirus and a spate of corporate earnings. While a decline in Cisco Systems Inc shares helped keep the blue-chip Dow in the red, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq rebounded and were both on track to eke out their fourth consecutive record closing highs. Cisco Systems fell 5.0% after providing lackluster forward revenue and profit guidance on its quarterly earnings call.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields were slightly lower on Thursday as traders balanced worsening news about the coronavirus epidemic in China with positive U.S. economic reports. The benchmark 10-year yield was down 1.8 basis points in afternoon trading at 1.6087%. In the 1 p.m. action, the U.S. Treasury sold $19 billion worth of 30-year bonds at a high yield of 2.061%, a record low for such auctions. The two-year U.S. Treasury yield, which typically moves in step with interest rate expectations, was down less than a basis point at 1.4377%.