Asian stocks trade mixed as vaccine hopes, upbeat data combat pre-Fed caution

  • Asian equities dribble as welcome numbers at home fail to convince bulls.
  • Vaccine hopes bolster, US fiscal stimulus likely out sooner.
  • Aussie Q4 CPI improved, Chinese Industrial Production came in better-than-expected in December.
  • Virus woes, doubts over the US relief package offer noisy background while markets await Federal Reserve.

Asian shares wobble during early Wednesday as traders await this year’s first US Fed announcement amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) woes. While portraying the mood, MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares, ex-Japan, drops for the second day in a row, currently down 0.12% intraday, whereas Japan’s Nikkei 225 gains 0.26% on a day by press time.

It should, however, be noted that shares in Australia and China ignored upbeat data, concerning Consumer Price Index (CPI) and Industrial Profits respectively, to mark mild losses. Also weighing on the ASX 200 and stocks from Beijing are recently grave relations between the US and China over the South China Sea.

Elsewhere, shares from New Zealand and Hong Kong manage to cheer the vaccine hopes, with mild gains, as global covid vaccine producers show confidence to tame the virus variant. Also on the positive side were US President Joe Biden’s comments suggesting more vaccines and faster immunization. Furthermore, comments from U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also boosted the expectations of the much-awaited American aid package. The Congress member recently said, “Democrats will move forward on President Joe Biden’s coronavirus relief plan without Republican support if necessary,” per Reuters.

It should be noted that the increase in COVID-19 infections in South Korea and Indonesia dragged KOSPI and IDX Composite down by 0.15% and 0.50% respectively while India’s BSE Sensex drops over 0.50% amid problems between farmers and the government.

On a broader scale, S&P 500 Futures mark mild losses after refreshing the record top the previous day. Further, the US 10-year Treasury yields stand pat near 1.04% as traders await the Fed.

Looking forward, updates on the US stimulus and covid can entertain markets but the Fed will be the key. Given the virus woes likely to push the Federal Reserve towards a dovish halt, any surprises won’t be taken lightly.

Read: Fed Preview: Fearing market froth or boosting Biden's stimulus? Three scenarios

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