Asian stocks set to fall as Wall Street’s tech rally stumbles

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NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian stocks were set to open in the red on Friday, after Wall Street’s benchmarks posted their biggest one-day declines in nearly three months as new fears about the economy sent investors into bonds and safe-haven currencies.

FILE PHOTO: A woman wearing a protective face mask, following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), is reflected in a screen displaying NASDAQ movements outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan March 16, 2020. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

However, analysts do not expect selling in Asia to match the Wall Street moves, which were driven by a sharp correction in technology stocks, as investors await key U.S. data due later on Friday.

“Asia has to open lower,” said Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at National Australian Bank, although he noted investors “will wait for another indication from the U.S. on whether the tech correction has legs.”

He said the U.S. jobs report due later has taken on more significance after a weak reading on U.S. private payrolls on Wednesday.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures lost 1.95% in early trading, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures fell 0.32%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures lost 1.30% and futures for the S&P 500 fell 0.64%.

Bonds and currency traders also are likely to stay on the sidelines until the picture becomes clearer, said Imre Speizer, head of New Zealand strategy at Westpac.

U.S. Treasury yields fell while the Japanese yen and Swiss franc gained against the dollar overnight on safe-haven buying as stocks fell.

Investors also await Australian July retail sales data July, which are expected to show an increase from June although such data is unlikely to have much impact unless it broadly overshoots expectations, Speizer said.

For a graphic on Slump: how every S&P 500 stock fared on Thursday Slump: how every S&P 500 stock fared on Thursday:

The dollar index rose 0.042%, with the euro up 0.03% to $1.1857.

The Australian dollar fell 0.10% versus the greenback at $0.727.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes last rose 5/32 in price to yield 0.6347%, from 0.651% late on Wednesday.

The U.S. stock market moves marked the biggest single-day percentage declines for the Nasdaq and S&P 500 since June 11 and since June 26 for the Dow. But the S&P 500 and Nasdaq are still close to record highs.

Stock investors’ perceptions about the economy have shifted. After days of seeing green shoots in global economic data, investors on Thursday seized on a U.S. weekly payrolls report and downbeat comments from Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans, who called for more stimulus to help the economy recover its pre-pandemic strength.

While weekly initial jobless claims fell more than anticipated, they remained extremely high.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 2.78%, the S&P 500 lost 3.51% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 4.96%.

European shares closed 1.4% lower after rising more than 1.2% as weakness in tech names spread, with the group falling 3.76% in its biggest one-day decline since April 21.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 1.40% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 2.51% and was on track for its biggest one-day percentage drop since June 11 after Wednesday’s record closing high.

Reporting by Alwyn Scott and Herbert Lash; Editing by Sam Holmes

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