Asian stocks traded mixed Tuesday after modest U.S. gains as investors weighed efforts to contain the coronavirus, while oil retained a sharp decline. The global commodities rout deepened as iron ore in China led declines.

Equity benchmarks dipped at the open in Tokyo, rose in Seoul and were flat in Sydney. Futures in Hong Kong gained, though China faces another tough session after many stocks traded limit-down on Monday. U.S. futures were little changed after the S&P 500 Index closed higher. As the epidemic continues to spread, China added stimulus in an effort to shore up its economy. The offshore yuan remains weaker than 7 per dollar.

Investors remain on edge with Chinese officials said to be considering whether to soften the growth target for 2020. Authorities in Beijing are also hoping the U.S. will agree to some flexibility on pledges in their phase-one trade deal due to the fallout from the spreading virus. In the latest tally, China said its total death toll from the virus stood at 425 and cases rose to more than 20,000.

“We feel like the world is moving under our feet because the probability of containment, looking at statistics daily, is a little bit of a fool’s errand," Richard Lacaille, chief investment officer at State Street Global Advisors.

Meanwhile, traders will also be watching the results of the Iowa Caucuses, as the 2020 Democratic presidential race kicks off.

Elsewhere, iron ore in China tumbled by 5.9% after trading limit-down on Monday. Oil retained most of a slide of almost 3% Monday on the outlook for Chinese demand cratering.

Here are some key events coming up:

The Iowa caucuses are Monday, the first contest to choose a Democratic nominee to run against Donald Trump in November.

Tuesday brings a policy decision from the Reserve Bank of Australia, and the Reserve Bank of India’s interest rate decision is due Thursday.

Friday has the U.S. employment report for January.

These are the main moves in markets:


Topix index fell 0.1% as of 10:11 a.m. in Tokyo.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.2%.

South Korea’s Kospi index rose 0.9%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index futures rose 0.5% earlier.

S&P 500 futures rose 0.1%. The S&P 500 closed 0.7% higher Monday.


The yen was at 108.58 per dollar.

The offshore yuan traded at 7.0141 per dollar.

The euro traded at $1.1063.


The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 1.52%.

Australia’s 10-year bond yield fell four basis points to 0.88%.


West Texas Intermediate crude lost 0.2% to $50 a barrel, extending a 2.8% slide.

  • Gold edged up 0.1% to $1,578.64 an ounce.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

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