Asian stocks: Mixed amid the twist in coronavirus tale

  • MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares (ex-Japan) trims early-day gains, ASX retreat from the record high.
  • Japan’s NIKKEI, Indian shares mildly weak.
  • Chinese indices lose amid the increase in coronavirus cases, more cities blocked in Hubei.

Asian shares fail to keep the recently gained upside for long as the fresh fears of coronavirus from Hubei triggered risk-off during early Thursday.

Markets initially reacted to the news that the coronavirus epicenter registered a noticeable increase in dead/infected people. However, it was later on revealed that the change in count methodology caused the spike.

Following that, the news of more people infected in South Korea, Japan and the US joined updates from China’s National Health Commission (NHC) to lockdown more cities to favor the risk-off.

As a result, the US 10-year treasury yields return to 1.60% mark, following five basis points (bps) rise the previous day, whereas MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan step back to 0.14% gains versus the earlier increase of over 0.5%. Also, Australia’s ASX 200 stepped back from the record top to 7,100, +0.10%, by the time of writing.

Further, Japan’s NIKKEI declines 0.13% to 23,830 whereas Indonesia’s IDEX Composite loses 0.40% to 5,890 by the press time of the pre-European session. Moving on, the Indian and Chinese equity gauges are marking losses ranging from 0.20% to 0.50%.

It’s worth mentioning that Wall Street closed down with benchmarks at record highs on Wednesday. The reason could be cited as the previous risk-on mood amid receding cases of coronavirus and expectations that the epidemic will be over soon.

Looking forward, traders will keep eyes on coronavirus updates while also waiting for the US headline inflation data for near-term direction.

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