Asia stocks set to rise after Wall Street gains on oil rebound

Katanga Johnson, Reuters

Posted at Apr 23 2020 08:57 AM

Asia stocks set to rise after Wall Street gains on oil rebound 1
People pass a public seating area marked with yellow tape to encourage social distancing, during the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), at a mall in Singapore April 17, 2020. Edgar Su, Reuters

WASHINGTON -- Asian equity markets were poised to edge higher on Thursday after rebounding crude prices and the promise of more US government aid to ease the economic pain inflicted by the coronavirus crisis helped calm global equity markets.

Better-than-expected US corporate earnings also lifted equities, analysts said, prompting investors to edge out of perceived safe-haven assets like US Treasuries on Wednesday.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures were up 0.94 percent at 20:59 GMT (4:59 a.m. in Manila), while Japan's Nikkei 225 futures were down 0.18 percent.

The Nikkei 225 index closed down 1.97 percent at 19,280.78​​​ on Wednesday. The futures contract is up 0.15 percent from that close.​ Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures rose 0.13 percent.

On Wall Street, all 11 S&P 500 sector indexes traded higher as the US Senate unanimously approved the new relief package, adding to trillions of dollars in stimulus that have helped Wall Street rebound from its March lows.

The House of Representatives is expected on Thursday to clear the relief, which would be the fourth coronavirus measure passed by Congress, and would boost the overall federal financial response to almost $3 trillion.

In Europe, traders were buoyed after Italy breezed through a major debt sale on Tuesday and speculation continued that the European Central Bank would provide more support measures.

Still, it may take European Union countries until the summer if not longer to agree on how to finance aid to help economies recover from the pandemic as major disagreements persist, a bloc official said on Wednesday.

Brent oil rose more than 7 percent, after earlier in the day touching its lowest level since 1999, on the prospects for further production cuts to reduce the glut in the oil market, sending the S&P 500 energy index up 3.6 percent.

US crude was trading up 4.72 percent to $14.43 per barrel.

Dozens of vessels have been booked in recent days to store at least 30 million barrels of jet fuel, gasoline and diesel at sea, as on-land tanks are full or already booked, according to traders and shipping data reviewed by Reuters.

US storage onshore is swiftly filling, with inventories now at 518.6 million barrels, not far from an all-time record.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 456.94 points, or 1.99 percent, to 23,475.82, the S&P 500 gained 62.75 points, or 2.29 percent, to 2,799.31 and the Nasdaq Composite added 232.15 points, or 2.81 percent, to 8,495.38.

Shares of US-listed Chinese companies may face headwinds after the head of the US securities regulator warned investors against putting money into Chinese companies due to ongoing governance issues with their disclosures.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.78 percent following a broad rally in Europe.

The dollar index rose 0.259 percent, with the euro down 0.13 percent to $1.0808.

The Canadian dollar fell 0.14 percent versus the greenback at 1.42 per dollar after the nation's death toll from the coronavirus rose by less than 10 percent for the third day in a row, data showed on Wednesday, and some provinces prepared to start lifting shutdowns imposed to fight the outbreak.

Gains in the oil market helped draw investors into riskier assets, pulling government bond yields higher.

Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 4/32 in price to yield 0.6175 percent, from 0.619 percent.