Asian investors anticipate modest rise in markets after mixed day on Wall Street

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors in Asia were expecting small gains on Thursday, after Wall Street booked a choppy day due in part to a disappointing private jobs report indicating slowing economic activity.

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walks past a screen displaying the world’s markets indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, March 17, 2020. REUTERS/Issei Kato

“Markets are quite likely to muddle through from here,” said Michael Frazis, portfolio manager at Frazis Capital Partners in Sydney. “The vaccine is increasingly priced in. A couple of months ago, no one knew how deep coronavirus would be, or what the outcome of the election was. Now both sources of uncertainty have been removed, and it’s pretty supportive of markets.”

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.09%. Nikkei futures were up about .07% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures rose 0.23%.

In early trade, Australia’s S&P ASX 200 climbed 0.46%.

U.S. private payrolls added fewer jobs than expected in November as growing new COVID-19 infections led to additional business restrictions. The bleak jobs report added to signs that the economy was decelerating as a tumultuous year nears a close.

Investors’ hopes, however, were bolstered by advancements by COVID-19 vaccine candidates and the U.S. Congress passing a potential coronavirus stimulus package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.2%, while the S&P 500 gained 0.18%. The Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.05%.

The dollar fell to a two-and-a-half year low on the news of the stimulus, but ended the day little changed as Congress grappled with extending additional coronavirus aid.

Treasury yields on the long end of the curve rose, adding to the increases on Tuesday in response to movement on the coronavirus stimulus package.

Oil prices rose also after Britain approved a COVID-19 vaccine and investors hoped producing countries would keep limits on their output.

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