Asian Stocks Set to Drop After Historic Oil Move: Markets Wrap

Asian stocks looked set to follow their U.S. counterparts lower, with investors on edge as oil futures plunged to unprecedented levels and earnings season continued.

Futures declined in Japan, Australia and Hong Kong. S&P 500 futures edged higher at the open in Asia after U.S. stocks fell from six-week highs. West Texas crude futures expiring Tuesday turned negative for the first time, primarily because the end of the May contract forces physical receipt at a time when storage capacity is low. June prices fell below $22 a barrel. Treasuries gained, with 10-year yields dipping more than three basis points to below 0.61%. The dollar strengthened and gold pushed higher.

Investors are contending with both the oil crash and signs that coronavirus deaths in some parts of the world, including New York, are slowing, and some lockdowns are being eased. Meanwhile, the U.S. Congress is close to a fresh spending package to offset the pandemic’s effects.

Meanwhile, the pace of earnings season is about to pick up, with almost one-fifth of S&P 500 companies reporting this week. After the close of U.S. trading, IBM reported a drop in first-quarter revenue and pulled its profit forecast for the year.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures rose 0.2% as of 7:10 a.m. in Tokyo. The S&P 500 Index fell 1.8%.
  • Futures on the Nikkei 225 were down 1.8% in Singapore.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index futures fell 1%.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index contracts lost 0.8%.

Currencies

  • The Japanese yen was at 107.62 per dollar.
  • The euro traded at $1.0863.
  • The British pound was at $1.2438 after dropping 0.5%.
  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.4%.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell four basis points to 0.61%.

Commodities

  • Gold climbed 0.8% to $1,696.35 an ounce.
  • West Texas Intermediate crude May contract was at -$16.65 a barrel, June contract at $20.84.

— With assistance by Vildana Hajric

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