Asian shares subdued as S&P slips, virus surges

FILE PHOTO: Passersby wearing protective face masks walk past a screen displaying Nikkei share average and world stock indexes outside a brokerage, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo, Japan October 5, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares got the week off to a hesitant start on Monday as surging coronavirus cases in Europe and the United states undermined the global outlook, while China’s leaders meet to ponder the future of the economic giant.

The U.S. has seen its highest ever number of new COVID-19 cases in the past two days, while France also set unwanted case records and Spain announced a state of emergency.

That combined with no clear progress on a U.S. stimulus package to pull S&P 500 futures down 0.6% ESc1. EUROSTOXX 50 futures STXEc1 eased 0.7% and FTSE futures FFIc1 0.4%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS inched up 0.1%, still short of its recent 31-month peak. Japan’s Nikkei .N225 dithered either side of steady, and South Korea’s main index lost 0.3% .KS11.

Chinese blue chips .CSI300 shed 0.5% as the country’s leaders met to chart the nation’s economic course for 2021-2025, balancing growth with reforms amid an uncertain global outlook and deepening tensions with the United States.

A packed week for monetary policy sees three major central banks hold meetings. The Bank of Canada and Bank of Japan are expected to hold fire for now, while the market assumes the European Central Bank will sound cautious on inflation and growth even if they skip a further easing.

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