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Asian Equity Futures Under Pressure After U.S. Stocks, Oil Slide



WASHINGTON: Asian stocks were poised to follow Wall Street lower on Wednesday as the cost of the U.S. stimulus and infrastructure plans and new pandemic curbs limited investors’ risk appetite.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures fell 0.2%. In Japan, Nikkei futures were 0.6% lower. Australian futures traded either side of unchanged.

Small cap stocks, energy and international equities fell on Tuesday.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 308.05 points, or 0.94%, to 32,423.15, the S&P 500 lost 30.07 points, or 0.76%, to 3,910.52 and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 149.85 points, or 1.12%, to 13,227.70.

Benchmark 10-year notes rose 19/32 in price to yield 1.6153%, from 1.682% late on Monday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spoke to Congress.

Powell downplayed the risk of inflation. Yellen said the U.S. economy remains at risk as she fielded lawmakers’ questions about possible infrastructure and tax increase plans under consideration.

Crude oil futures tumbled more than 6% due to demand concerns amid a third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Germany extended its lockdown to April 18. A U.S. health agency said the AstraZeneca Plc vaccine developed with Oxford University may have included outdated information in its data, further fueling investor concerns over the recovery.

“Risk assets continued their second day of decline, as outbreak concerns rose in Europe. The bond market saw heavy inflows, further flattening the long-end of the curve,” Commonwealth Bank of Australia market analysts said note.

The U.S. dollar rose against a basket of major currencies, weighing on gold prices.

U.S. manufacturing data was due later on Wednesday and Powell was expected to give the same prepared testimony to a Senate banking panel.

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