Asian Stock Market: Sluggish amid pre-Fed caution, COVID-19 woes

  • Asia-Pacific traders remain divided as virus concerns grew stronger ahead of the Fed.
  • BOJ cites economic uncertainty, UK’s help measures reach India.
  • Markets in Australia, New Zealand kick-start the week after ANZAC Day’s off.
  • Wall Street closed mixed amid rising doubts over Biden’s infrastructure spending, weaker-than-expected US data.

Asian equities stay mildly offered, except for India, as cautious sentiment grew ahead of the key Federal Reserve meeting, US earnings during early Tuesday. As a result, MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan drops 0.10% whereas Japan’s Nikkei also marks a 0.50% intraday loss by the press time.

Bank of Japan matches wide market expectations of keeping the benchmark rate and yield target unchanged. However, the focus was on the Q1 2021 outlook where the Japanese central bank raised concerns over economic performance while citing the latest virus-led emergency in Tokyo and three other prefectures.

Wall Street benchmarks couldn’t keep Friday’s upbeat momentum as US Census signaled more seats for Republicans, which in turn raise bars for President Joe Biden’s $2.25 trillion infrastructure spending amid a row over the tax hike. Also confusing the American traders were mixed earnings from Tesla and American Express. Additionally, the pre-Fed moves join cautious mood ahead of earnings from Alphabet, Facebook and Apple also weighed on the American equities.

Elsewhere, markets in Australia and New Zealand drop half a percent while following Chinese benchmarks. Further, stocks in Indonesia and South Korea stay mildly offered by the press time amid lackluster moves.

However, Indian markets are an exception as they rise below 1.0% amid hopes of overcoming the worst crisis in Indian history. The expectations improved after the UK’s covid helps reach India while others are still in the pipeline.

Given the pre-Fed mood and a light calendar, investors may witness another dull day but the covid and stimulus headlines will be the key to watch.



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