Asian stocks were mixed and U.S. futures dipped Thursday as investors weighed the recovery from the pandemic and the possibility of a reduction in stimulus. The dollar held a climb and Treasury yields were stable.
An Asia-Pacific stock gauge snapped a five-day rally. China fared better, with stocks and the currency rising after Washington and Beijing held the first trade talks since the election of President Joe Biden. Australian shares shrugged off a virus lockdown in Victoria state. Contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 fell. The Russell 2000 Index of small-caps jumped overnight, while energy producers and retailers helped the S&P 500 Index to a more modest increase.
The U.S. and China trade chiefs had a “candid” first conversation as the two sides try to resolve some of their differences on trade. At the same time, tensions remain — the White House’s top official for Asia said Wednesday the U.S. is entering a period of intense competition with China.
Oil fell below $66 a barrel amid concern the market could face a flood of Iranian barrels if sanctions on the Persian Gulf producer are lifted. The dollar held a gain and Bitcoin retreated further below $40,000.