TOKYO/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Asian markets were little changed on Friday, as a U.S. stimulus deal remained out of reach and investors waited on fresh U.S. employment data for a read on the economic toll from the coronavirus pandemic.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.11%. Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.86% as a decline in oil and copper prices weighed on the resources sector.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was up 0.19% after the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE) resumed normal trading after its worst-ever outage brought the world’s third-largest equity market to a standstill.
U.S. stock futures fell 0.23% as an additional economic stimulus package remained elusive despite renewed efforts from Washington negotiators.
After a day of negotiations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters she did not expect an imminent agreement with the Trump administration. It remains unclear if policymakers can get something done before the Nov. 3 election.
“The risk is that if disposable incomes continue to fall, the recovery in personal spending will slow or even reverse. The fiscal stimulus stalemate suggests additional government support payments to households are unlikely soon,” said Commonwealth Bank of Australia currency analyst Kim Mundy in a note.
China’s stock and bond markets, foreign exchange and commodity futures markets are closed Oct. 1-8 for the Golden Week holiday. South Korea and Hong Kong markets are also closed on Friday for holidays.
U.S. markets kicked off the fourth quarter by closing higher while the dollar sank, with investors tracking stimulus talk updates throughout the day.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.13% on Thursday. The S&P 500 gained 0.53% and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.42%.
U.S. consumer spending is starting to slow due to a shaky jobs market. If policymakers cannot agree on more support, the U.S. economy could lose more momentum.
The focus shifts to the Labor Department’s report on non-farm payrolls and the jobless rate later Friday, following new layoff announcements from the likes of Disney and Goldman Sachs.
The dollar index was quoted at 93.811, close to a one-week low due to doubts about U.S. stimulus talks. The Chinese yuan, Australian, New Zealand and Canadian dollars have all gained against the greenback.
Spot gold fell 0.4% to $1,897.41 an ounce, adding to its worst month since November 2016, while oil prices continued to fall, adding to a 10% September drop.
Brent crude futures were trading down 1.0% at $40.52 a barrel in Asia on Friday, while U.S. crude futures were down 1.03% at $38.33 a barrel.
Oil prices fell more than 3% on Thursday as rising coronavirus cases around the world dampened the demand outlook, while a rise last month in member output from the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries also pressured prices.
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