Asian stock markets mixed

Stock markets in Asia are drifting today after Wall Street finished the day slightly lower overnight after soft US employment data, Covid-19 fears and US fiscal stimulus disappointment continued to weigh down on market optimism. Regional markets seem content to ride out the week in a quiet manner, with market price action being dictated by events in Europe and the US at the moment.

Nasdaq futures have fallen 0.80% in Asia, and that has sent the Nikkei 225 is 0.20% lower with the Kospi falling 0.65%. China’s Shanghai Composite has risen 0.40%, with large caps outperforming. The CSI 300 has risen 0.25% with Hong Kong 0.50% higher. Taiwan is 0.50% higher with Singapore 0.60% higher. Meanwhile, Australian markets have retreated on China concerns and the general risk-off falls seen overnight. The ASX 200 has declined 0.45%, with the All Ordinaries down 0.25%.

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Regional markets appear to be taking their cues from China today, but rallies are unlikely to be prolonged, with Europe and the US set for another nervous end to the week. With US fiscal stimulus remaining elusive, and Covid-19’s spread across Europe and the US escalating, northern hemisphere markets are likely to finish the week on a soft note as investors reduce risk into the weekend. That will cap gains in Asia today.

An item giving me cold sweats is a Blomberg report today that Hong Kong brokers are offering 20-1 leverage to retail investors for the upcoming Ant Financial IPO. With a date yet to be set, thanks to Chinese government holdups, the frenzy surrounding the IPO increases by the day, notably by the brokerages themselves. After 30 years in the markets, I can tell readers that if something is too good to be true, it always is. And when the bright young financial things of each generation say this time it’s different, it never is.

 

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