US stock markets reported losses overnight, but Asian markets have not fallen suit in Wednesday trade. Stock markets across Asia are remarkably calm after the falls seen on Wall Street overnight, with most regional bourses at or near unchanged for the day. Sentiment has been boosted by a minuscule move higher by the US aftermarket futures contracts. More likely, though, the small gains shown by mainland China and Hong Kong are calming nerves.

US exchanges finally had a small corrective move lower overnight, ending a five-day winning streak. The S&P 500 fell 1.10%, the Nasdaq fell 0.86%, and the Dow Jones fell 1.51%. Covid-19 nerves have eroded confidence and caused equity markets to blink, but for now, the move looks technical and not structural.

In Asia, the Nikkei 225 and Kospi are down 0.20%, with Singapore, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur all flat on the day thus far. China’s mainland continues to edge higher though, as retail investors assume a government back-stop after exhorting them to get long on Monday. The Shanghai Composite is up 0.70%, the CSI 300 is 0.60% higher and the Hang Seng of 0.50% higher, led by gains in Tencent.

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The new lockdown of Melbourne for six weeks and the closing of the Victorian border with New South Wales, is weighing on markets Down Under. The ASX 200 is down 0.75%, the All Ordinaries by 0.30%, with New Zealand lower by 0.60%.

Covid-19 worries are genuine. All in all, the equity markets have posted an impressive rally since the dark days of March. But the fact that investors are finally acknowledging this fact is more due to the overbought nature of the short-term market and not a structural turn in sentiment. That will likely require an escalation in lockdowns across the US Sunbelt states. The solidity of Asian markets today will bring some relief to investors, with Europe likely to follow suit this afternoon.


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