Asia-Pacific markets were lower on Tuesday, with the Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index leading the losses, losing about -2.40%, followed by the South Korea’s KOSPI by -2.14%. The Shanghai composite shed -1.20%, Nikkei 225 down -0.95%, and the Singapore’s Straits Times index retreated -0.88% lower.
Markets in Australia and India are closed on Tuesday for holidays.
Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 gained 0.36%, and Nasdaq index adding 0.69% to hit a record high. However, the Dow slipped 0.12%. The pan-European STOXX 600 index reversed early gains and finished 0.8% lower. The German DAX fell 1.7%, France CAC 40 was down 1.6% and the UK's FTSE 100 declined 0.8%.
Oil prices fell on Tuesday, as renewed COVID-19 lockdowns raised concerns about global fuel demand. The Brent crude futures traded to $55.52 a barrel, while U.S. crude at $52.42.
On Monday, the Brent closed at $55.88 per barrel, while WTI futures ended at $52.77 per barrel.
The dollar advanced to a near 1-week high against a basket of currencies, as volatility in stock markets around the globe sapped investors' appetite for riskier currencies. It rose to 90.46.
Major pairs were trapped in a tight range as markets awaited a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting on Wednesday.
Safe-haven gold rose to $1,856.60 per ounce, while down added $1,855.80 per ounce for gold futures. Previously closed at $1,856.20 and $1,855.20, respectively.
Silver trading at $25.33, platinum trading at $1,088.00 and palladium trading at $2,267.00.
Stocks in Asia-Pacific fell today as market sentiment was dampened by fears that the rising number of COVID-19 cases could lead to a more stringent lockdown, along with the doubts over the delays in vaccine supplies by the vaccine makers. Uncertainty over the timing and scope of the $1.9 trillion U.S. fiscal stimulus also dented optimism plan, dragging U.S. Treasury yields to 3-weeks lows.
Focus turned to the U.S. Senate, which is aiming to pass COVID-19 relief legislation before former President Trump's impeachment trial begins in early February.
Q420 GDP data for the U.S., Germany, France, Taiwan, South Korea, Hong Kong, India, and Philippines is due out this week.
To date, number of confirmed worldwide cases for COVID-19 pandemic has surpassed 99.706 million affecting 213 countries and territories around the world and 2 international conveyances, recording more than 2.139 million fatality globally.
Important Levels to Watch for Today:
- Resistance line of 103.949 and 104.147.
- Support line of 103.308 and 103.109.
The yen was flat at 103.742 per dollar, though weaker than levels below 103.5 against the greenback seen last week.
Earlier today, minutes from the BoJ’s December monetary policy meeting showed members agreeing that the central bank would “not hesitate to take additional easing measures if necessary” as it monitors the impact of the pandemic.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Fed statements will be closely watched when it concludes a 2-day meeting on Wednesday. U.S. policymakers are expected to keep the monetary spigot open when the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee meets on Tuesday and Wednesday.