Most Asian stocks fell Wednesday and Treasuries held a rally on concerns about the economic recovery from the pandemic, virus variants and China’s scrutiny of the technology sector. U.S. equity contracts fluctuated.
Japanese stocks slid but Australian shares weathered an extension to Sydney’s Covid-19 lockdown. Chinese tech firms retreated in Hong Kong as Beijing’s cybersecurity probe of ride-hailing giant Didi Global Inc., and vow to tighten scrutiny of data security and overseas listings, hurt sentiment. The S&P 500 dipped and the Nasdaq 100 reached a record overnight. European futures rose.
Ten-year Treasury yields hit February lows in U.S. hours in part on slower-than-expected service-sector growth, with short covering exacerbating the move. Australian and New Zealand bonds rallied. The dollar retained a climb.
Oil steadied after dropping toward $73 a barrel in the fallout from the OPEC+ crisis, which has stymied efforts to raise production and buffeted prices.
While global stocks remain near all-time highs, inflationary pressures, reduced central bank stimulus and the spread of the Covid-19 delta strain are potential risks. Traders are looking ahead to the Federal Reserve minutes Wednesday for more clues on when the U.S. central bank may begin tapering the substantial asset purchases that have bolstered financial markets.