Asian markets are subdued to financial hopes and pandemic fears from Reuters

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© Reuters. A woman holding an umbrella walks near an electrical board showing Nikkei index at a Tokyo estate agent

By Pete Schroeder

(Reuters) – Asian markets were halted for sideways trading Thursday as persistent pandemic concerns were fueled against stronger economic data and with little fixed direction from Wall Street.

Australia’s benchmark fell 0.1% in early trading while {{178 | Japan’s Ni gained 0.05%. Hong Kong’s futures fell 0.2%.

The MSCI’s global equity index rose 0.04%.

Strong retail sales from the US, coupled with new signs that the Federal Reserve will maintain its accommodative stance, and an ongoing urge for more US stimulus helped fuel expectations that the world’s largest economy will continue to make gains from the Pandemic will be recorded.

However, concerns about the rapid spread of new varieties tempered the excitement.

“With an even bigger stimulus package, expected to be passed by Congress before the end of March, the US economic recovery could gain momentum in 2021,” wrote Carol Kong, currency analyst for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (OTC :).

“Despite recent positive vaccine developments, the global economic outlook remains uncertain due in part to the spread of virus variants.”

On Wall Street, technology stocks were under some pressure from inflation concerns, driving the Nasdaq down, while other companies rose on broader economic optimism.

Those rose 0.29% while the 0.03% lost and the 0.58% fell.

With investors watching inflation, minutes of the January Fed meeting showed that policymakers were ready to take further precautions to stimulate the pandemic-ravaged US economy.

Persistent optimism spread to the US dollar, which rose against other currencies. The measure of the strength of the currency against six other major currencies was last 0.25% higher.

Risk appetite was also evident in Bitcoin, which continued on its uptrend and topped $ 52,000, amid signs that it may find more mainstream adoption.

Persistent freezing in Texas drove oil prices higher as unusually cold weather affected production in the largest producing state. gained 1.6%, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil gained 1.8%, neither of which had been achieved since January 2020.

US safe haven bond yields declined slightly on Wednesday on stronger economic data. The 10-year reference yield, which was 1.333%, its highest level since February 27, 2020, later fell to 1.2720%. The 30-year US yield also fell.

down 0.2% to $ 1,815.80 an ounce, put under pressure by higher benchmark yields on US Treasuries. The US fell 0.4% to $ 1,815.70 an ounce.

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