Asia stocks face muted open as global woes mount

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) - Asian stocks looked set for a muted open on Thursday (Aug 8) as investors assessed the implications of the latest central bank moves to bolster growth.

US equities and benchmark Treasury yields mounted a turnaround late in the day, reversing sharp declines.

Japanese futures rose, while they dipped in Australia and were little changed in Hong Kong.

Earlier, the S&P 500 Index recovered from a decline of as much as 2% to eke out a modest gain. Yields on 10-year Treasuries edged higher after an earlier retreat. Currency markets were volatile after rate cuts in New Zealand, India and Thailand.

Investors are weighing how to react to a wave of monetary easing by central banks across the world as global bond yields plumb new lows amid fear of a global recession.

Threats of an escalation in the US-China trade war are creating uncertainty in corporate boardrooms, spurring concern there will be a pullback in capital spending and a drop in earnings.

The dovish moves in Asia Wednesday underscored the global shift toward easier policy even after the Federal Reserve's unexpectedly hawkish stance last week.

US President Donald Trump again urged the Fed to ease policy, saying in a tweet that "They must Cut Rates bigger and faster, and stop their ridiculous quantitative tightening NOW."

Next up, the Philippine central bank is expected to cut rates when it meets Thursday.

Traders will also be closely watching China's yuan fixing for signals on policy with the central bank under pressure to issue its weakest currency fixing in more than a decade.


Elsewhere, oil extended a decline after Brent crude closed in a bear market on Tuesday. It clawed back losses in after-hours trading in New York after Saudi Arabia contacted fellow crude producers to discuss ways to halt the slide in prices.

These are some key events to watch out for this week: A string of Fed policy makers speak this week, including Chicago's Charles Evans on Wednesday.

Philippines central bank monetary policy meeting on Thursday.

Here are the main moves in markets (all sizes and scopes are on a closing basis): Stocks Nikkei 225 futures rose 0.4%.

Australia's S&P/ASX 200 Index futures fell 0.2%.

Hang Seng Index futures were little changed.

The S&P 500 Index rose 0.1% at the close of trading in New York.

Currencies The yen was steady at 106.23 per dollar.

The offshore yuan rose 0.1% to 7.0812 per dollar.

Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.

The euro was at US$1.1202.

Bonds The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose 3 basis points to 1.73%.

Commodities West Texas Intermediate crude fell 2.5% to US$52.31 a barrel, the lowest since early June.

Gold was at US$1,501.24 an ounce, the highest in more than six years, after jumping 1.8%.