Asian Stocks Down, Pressing Pause on Rally Over COVID-19 Jitters

This post was originally published on this site – Asian stocks were down on Wednesday morning, hitting the pause button after U.S. markets saw another record run during the previous session.

Investors remain cautious over fresh outbreaks of COVID-19, as economies continue to reopen globally, investors are turning their attention to a potential treatment. The U.K.’s AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) said on Tuesday that the first participants have been dosed in a phase one trial of its vaccine candidate AZD7442.

Meanwhile, investors are looking to Thursday’s Jackson Hole symposium, where U.S. Federal Chairman Jerome Powell is due to give a speech, for further guidance on the Fed’s monetary policy framework review. They will also be on the lookout for the Fed’s response to data released on Tuesday, showing that U.S. consumer confidence dropped to 84.8 in August, the lowest level in around six years.

Some investors remained hopeful that the Fed’s guidance would continue to boost stocks.

“The Fed has all but guaranteed that rates are going nowhere for at least two years. Equity remains the place for investors to escape the secular stagnation that we’re seeing within the real economy that this zero-yield world produces,” Saxo Bank market strategist Eleanor Creagh told Bloomberg.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 edged down 0.20% by 11:12 PM ET (4:12 AM GMT) and South Korea’s KOSPI was down 0.63%

Down Under, the ASX 200 fell 0.92%. Victoria state recorded 24 COVID-19 deaths, and 149 new cases, on Wednesday, the halfway point of its six-week lockdown.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged down 0.20%. The city expects to relax some social distancing measures from Friday, on the back of decreasing COVID-19 cases in the city.

China’s Shanghai Composite was down 0.71 and the Shenzhen Component edged down 0.15%. Optimism over U.S.-China relations remains in the aftermath of U.S. and Chinese officials affirming the phase one trade deal on Monday. But investors will also continue monitoring the level of tensions between the two countries, as disagreements over other issues remain.

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