Asian markets look to follow Wall Street rally as oil surges

Herbert Lash, Reuters

Posted at Apr 03 2020 08:29 AM

A trader wears a mask as he works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) as the building prepares to close indefinitely due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in New York, US. Lucas Jackson, Reuters/file

NEW YORK -- Asian markets on Friday looked to latch onto Wall Street's overnight gains after crude prices notched their biggest one-day surge on record, helping offset concerns about the depth of a global recession.

Despite the rally in stocks, investors still sought the safety of the US dollar and government bonds as an unprecedented number of Americans - 6.6 million - filed jobless claims due to coronavirus-induced lockdowns, as economic concerns stayed front and center.

US stocks rallied after US President Donald Trump said he expects Russia and Saudi Arabia to announce an oil production cut of up to 10 million to 15 million barrels as the two countries signaled willingness to make a deal.

Saudi Arabia said it would call an emergency meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, Saudi state media reported.

Nikkei futures edged slightly higher, above the index's cash close on Thursday, and Australia's benchmark was up 1.5 percent in early trade. Hong Kong futures were negative.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 fell 0.04 percent. A gauge of stocks across the globe advanced 1.24 percent overnight, adding to modest gains earlier in Europe.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2 percent, the S&P 500 gained 2.3 percent and the Nasdaq Composite added 1.7 percent.

Projections released by the US Congressional Budget Office showed US gross domestic product will decline by more than 7 percent in the second quarter as the coronavirus crisis takes hold.

Interest rates on 10-year Treasuries will likely be below 1 percent during the quarter as well, the CBO said.

Investors sought the perceived safety of government bonds. Benchmark US 10-year notes fell in price to last yield 0.6111 percent.

Global coronavirus cases surpassed 1 million on Thursday with more than 52,000 deaths as the pandemic further exploded in the United States and the death toll climbed in Spain and Italy, according to a Reuters tally.

The dollar gained for a second straight day against a basket of currencies as investors continued to take shelter in the US currency.

The dollar index rose 0.672 percent, while the Japanese yen weakened 0.21 percent versus the greenback at 108.15 per dollar.

Gold prices jumped as record high US jobless claims intensified fears of the coming economic slowdown and drove investors toward the safe-haven metal.

US gold futures settled 2.9 percent higher at $1,637.70 an ounce.

Highly rated US corporate bond issuers raised a record $110.502 billion this week, according to Refinitiv IFR data, as firms borrowed cash in fear the coronavirus crisis may soon limit their access to capital markets.

Brent futures rose $5.20, or 21.0 percent, to settle at $29.94 a barrel, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose $5.01, or 24.7 percent, to settle at $25.32.

Despite the record surge on Thursday, oil prices have still lost more than half their value this year.