In Asian Equity Markets indices traded higher on Thursday morning, with China cutting its loan prime rate (LPR) as the country grappled with the economic impact of an ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Shares in Japan led gains among major markets in the region. The Nikkei 225 jumped 1.43% as shares of index heavyweight and conglomerate Softbank Group jumped 3.92%. Stocks in Australia saw gains as the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.71%. Meanwhile, South Korea’s Kospi lagged as it shed earlier gains to trade fractionally lower.

 

In Currency Markets the Japanese yen traded near a nine-month low versus the dollar on Thursday as risk appetite improved on expectations that China will continue to take steps to offset the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The yen traded at 111.27 per dollar in Asia on Thursday, close to the lowest since May 2019. Japan’s currency fell 1.3% on Wednesday. The Swiss franc, another safe-haven, was quoted at 0.9841 versus the dollar, close to its weakest since December.

 

In Commodities Markets oil prices rose nearly 1% on Thursday, extending big gains from a day earlier, as the market worried about crude supply disruptions and demand concerns were cushioned after a sharp drop in new coronavirus cases at the epicenter of the outbreak. Tensions in Libya that have led to a blockade of its ports and oilfields have shown no signs a resolution. Brent crude futures rose 45 cents, or 0.8%, to $59.57 a barrel. The international benchmark rose 2.4% on Wednesday.

 

In US Equity Markets indices stocks rose on Wednesday as optimism that China would take more measures to prop up its economy eased concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic. The S&P 500 gained 0.60%, to 3,390.37. The Nasdaq Composite added 1%, to 9,829.76. Helping the technology sector was a 5.3% gain in chip-maker Nvidia Corp after Bernstein raised its shares to “outperform.” Garmin Ltd jumped 7.3% after the wearable fitness devices maker forecast full-year revenue above analysts’ estimates.

 

In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields edged higher on Wednesday as a report that China will take more steps to bolster its virus-hit economy boosted risk taking, and U.S. economic data beat economists’ expectations. Benchmark 10-year note yields rose one basis point to 1.57%. Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s January meeting released on Wednesday showed that policymakers were cautiously optimistic about their ability to hold interest rates steady this year, even as they acknowledged new risks caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

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