Asian stocks mixed, US futures plunge as traders weigh Fed minutes, geopolitical concerns; Oil Slumps: Market Recap

Japan’s Topix index fell 0.6%, South Korea’s Kospi index rose 1.2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.2%. While S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.2%.

U.S. stock futures fell and Asian stocks were mixed on Thursday as traders weighed geopolitical concerns and the likely trajectory of Federal Reserve interest rate hikes.

Shares slid in Japan, surged in South Korea and fluctuated in Hong Kong, where reports suggest authorities are preparing mass testing to combat Covid. US contracts fell after the S&P 500 managed a small gain on Wednesday.

Treasuries have climbed, the dollar has held steady, and gold has recently seen a rally. Traders were digesting the United States’ rejection of Russian claims of a troop withdrawal from the Ukrainian border. The Kremlin has repeatedly denied any invasion plans.

Oil slipped amid signs that an Iranian nuclear deal is drawing closer, which could pave the way for a resumption of official exports from the Persian Gulf producer. In recent times, crude has also been plagued by supply issues related to the buildup of Russian troops.

The Fed’s latest minutes showed officials had concluded they would start raising rates soon and were on high alert that lingering inflation would warrant faster tightening. There were few new details on the balance sheet liquidation plans.

Here are some key events this week:

  • G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meet from Thursday to February 18
  • Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester and St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speak Thursday
  • US Monetary Policy Forum: Speakers including Fed officials Charles Evans, Christopher Waller and Lael Brainard, Friday

Some of the major movements in the markets:

Shares

  • S&P 500 futures fell 0.2% at 10:55 a.m. in Tokyo. The S&P 500 rose 0.1%
  • Nasdaq 100 futures lost 0.2%. The Nasdaq 100 fell 0.1%
  • Japan’s Topix index fell 0.6%
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6%
  • South Korea’s Kospi index rose 1.2%
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.2%
  • China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.1%

Currencies

  • The Japanese yen was at 115.48 to the dollar
  • The offshore yuan was at 6.3315 to the dollar
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index remained stable
  • The euro was at $1.1381

Obligations

  • The yield on 10-year Treasury bills was 2.03%
  • Australia’s 10-year yield was at 2.24%

Merchandise

  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 2.3% to $91.54 a barrel
  • Gold was at $1,869.04 an ounce

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