Asian stocks drifted lower after the year's biggest run-up, though investors largely shrugged off the vote in the US House to impeach President Donald Trump. American futures were flat.
Equities dipped in Tokyo, Sydney and Hong Kong. They were flat in Seoul. Australia's dollar climbed after job gains beat forecasts for November and the unemployment rate fell. Ten-year Treasury yields held around 1.90% after rising Wednesday. Shanghai stocks were little changed after erasing the day's losses as the central bank mounted another liquidity injection ahead of a seasonal cash squeeze around year-end.
A gauge of financial stress has plunged amid a slew of good news
Global stocks are close to all-time highs, though with the US-China trade accord announced Friday yet to be signed, traders are finding few reasons to bid prices higher.
"With the phase one trade deal, if anything markets are now reducing the prospect of political uncertainty and political risk heading into 2020," Beverley Morris, director of rates and inflation at QIC Ltd., said. "We are not so sure. This is an election year and we are not so sure we've seen all that we are going to hear on the trade deal. We are preparing our portfolios for that insurance. We think it's going to be a bumpy year ahead."
In Asia, Bank of Japan left its monetary policy settings unchanged amid signs of a thaw in global trade tensions and Tokyo's plans for fiscal stimulus.
Meanwhile, the pound tried to find a floor after retreating the past two days amid renewed concern of a possible no-deal Brexit. Bitcoin bounced back above $7,000 after slumping to the lowest since May.
Here are some key events to watch for this week:
- Policy decisions are due Thursday from the Bank of Japan and the Bank of England.
- Revised US GDP data are due Friday.
- Friday also brings quadruple witching in the US, the simultaneous expiration date of stock index futures, stock index options, stock options and single stock futures. Expect elevated trading volume, particularly in the last hour of the session.
These are the main moves in markets:
- MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.3% at 3:06 p.m. in Hong Kong.
- S&P 500 futures were flat. The S&P 500 Index ended little changed.
- Topix index fell 0.1% at the close.
- Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3%.
- Kospi index rose about 0.1%.
- Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index fell 0.4%.
- The yen was little changed at 109.58 per dollar.
- The offshore yuan was steady at 6.9979 per dollar.
- The euro was at $1.1128, up 0.1%.
- The British pound was at $1.3086 after falling for two days.
- The Aussie dollar rose 0.3% to 68.71 US cents.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries was unchanged after rising four basis points Wednesday.
- Australia's 10-year yield added four basis points to 1.25%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed at $60.95 a barrel.
- Gold was steady at $1,476.43 an ounce.
Disclaimer: This article first appeared on Bloomberg.com, and is published by special syndication arrangement.