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Morning Note: Asian Markets Up, Oil Up

Global stocks began the week on the back foot as investors readied for the start of an earnings season marked by unprecedented uncertainty over the corporate impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. equity futures dropped, while stocks saw losses in Japan, South Korea and China. Many markets remained closed for the Easter holiday. The dollar dipped after OPEC+ agreed to cut 9.7 million barrels a day from global crude output — just below the initial plan of 10 million. The yen advanced and Australian dollar slipped. Treasury yields ticked higher. A number of countries including the U.S., France, Germany, Italy and Spain reported a slowdown in new coronavirus cases.

With earnings season kicking off in earnest this week, investors will be hoping to get a better sense of how bad the hit to global profits could be as the coronavirus upends the world’s economies. Uncertainty is high as to what the coming months will bring with companies having a hard time grasping the situation and predicting the short-term future.

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes are trading lower on Monday as traders digest the OPEC+ production cut deal and the latest news about the coronavirus pandemic. Volume is light with most of the world coming off a long holiday weekend. Markets in Hong Kong and Australia are also closed for Easter Monday.

Oil prices jumped in early Asian activity after OPEC and its allies finalized an agreement to cut production by 9.7 million barrels per day, the single largest output cut in history. The move is likely to unpin stocks and create a floor for oil prices, but traders don’t believe the cuts are enough to change the trend in oil, given the current demand destruction caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Nairobi Securities Exchange remains closed for the day and trading resumed tomorrow.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures fell 1.4% at 1:12 p.m. in Tokyo.
  • Japan’s Topix Index fell 1.3%.
  • Korea’s Kospi Index slipped 1%.
  • Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3%.

Currencies

  • The yen rose 0.4% to 108.03 per dollar.
  • The offshore yuan traded at 7.0545 per dollar, down 0.1%.
  • The euro was little changed at $1.0937.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 0.73%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude rose 5.2% to $23.94 a barrel.
  • Gold fell 0.7% to $1,685