U.S. coronavirus stimulus, currencies, oil

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Japan were set to open higher as investors continue to watch for developments on U.S. coronavirus stimulus.

Futures pointed to a higher open for stocks in Japan. The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 23,630 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 23,590. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 23,567.04.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia nudged higher in early trade, with the S&P/ASX 200 up fractionally.

Shares of Cathay Pacific in Hong Kong will be watched following a Tuesday report from the South China Morning Post that the airline has agreed to scale back planned job cuts to around 6,000 worldwide and cut its Cathay Dragon sister brand.

Investor focus on Wednesday will likely be on stimulus negotiations stateside. The Trump administration and Democrats made progress in negotiations on Tuesday but major differences remain, according to White House chief of staff Mark Meadows.

“Even if a deal is not agreed to before November, there are high hopes there will be a package after the election,” Tapas Strickland, director of economics at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.

On the coronavirus vaccine front, Moderna’s CEO Stephane Bancel expects interim results from the firm’s Covid-19 vaccine trial in November, according to The Wall Street Journal. Bancel also told the Journal that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration could issue an emergency use authorization before the end of the year.

Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 113.37 points higher, or 0.4%, at 28,308.79. The  S&P 500 advanced 0.5% to end its trading day at 3,443.12 while the Nasdaq Composite edged 0.3% higher to close at 11,516.49.


The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 93.067 following its decline earlier this week from levels above 93.6.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.49 per dollar after spiking to levels above 105.6 against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar was at $0.7057, having declined from levels above $0.707 earlier this week.

— CNBC’s Terri Cullen contributed to this report.

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