Friday 24th April: Asian markets lower as FT reports Gilead’s medicine to have been ineffective in China trials

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Global Markets:

  • Asian Stock Markets : Nikkei down 0.86%, Shanghai Composite down 1.06%, Hang Seng down 0.35%, ASX up 0.49%
  • Commodities : Gold at $1750.80 (+0.31%), Silver at $15.38 (+0.17%), Brent Oil at $21.60 (+1.27%), WTI Oil at $16.73 (+1.39%)
  • Rates : US 10-year yield at 0.593, UK 10-year yield at 0.271, Germany 10-year yield at -0.466

News & Data:

  • (GBP) Retail Sales m/m -5.10% vs -4.50% expected
  • (USD) Flash Manufacturing PMI 36.9 vs 35.1 expected
  • (USD) Unemployment Claims 4427K vs 4350K expected
  • (GBP) Flash Services PMI 12.3 vs 28.5 expected
  • (GBP) Flash Manufacturing PMI 32.9 vs 42 expected
  • (EUR) Flash Services PMI 11.7 vs 23.2 expected
  • (EUR) Flash Manufacturing PMI 33.6 vs 38.7 expected

Markets Update:

Asian stock markets are mostly lower on Friday following the lacklustre cues overnight from Wall Street after the Financial Times reported that Gilead Sciences’ experimental coronavirus drug remdesivir flopped in its first randomized clinical trial. However, Gilead Sciences said that study was terminated early due to low enrolment and the study results were inconclusive.

Globally, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide has increased to more than 2.7 million, while the death tally rose to more than 190,400, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Mainland Chinese stocks dropped by their close, with the Shanghai composite 1.1% lower and the Shenzhen Composite 1.4% lower. Worries about the coronavirus infection spreading during next week’s Golden Week holidays in Japan also weighed on the Japanese markets.

The Nikkei 225 shed 0.9% while the Topix index declined 0.3%. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 closed 0.5% higher. Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Malaysia are also lower, while New Zealand and Taiwan are higher.

The bad news kept on coming as the U.S. reported an additional 4.427 million initial jobless claims for the past week overnight. Analyst forecasts prepared by had predicted 4.2 million claims.

Oil prices extended a tentative rebound from a price collapse this week that pushed U.S. crude futures into negative for the first time ever, but investors remain concerned about weak energy demand and excess supplies of crude. The dollar headed for weekly gains against the Norwegian crown, the Canadian dollar, and the Russian rouble as investors chose to sell the currencies of major oil producers and keep their funds in dollars.

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