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Asia Stock Markets Slightly Higher

Equity markets paint a mixed picture

Asian markets had a positive start this morning, but those rallies have quickly given most of those gains back after the US said its ambassador to the UN would meet with Taiwan’s President.

Another item garnering market attention was President-elect Biden signalling his intention to spend “trillions of dollars”, notably increasing direct payments to American taxpayers to USD2000.00. As I have touched on previously, the Byrd Rule will make that harder than the markets want to acknowledge unless the Democrats can muster 60 votes in the Senate. Not least because some of the Democrats Senators themselves are very much more to the centre-right of the political spectrum.

US index futures have fallen this morning, unwinding much of Friday’s gains. There appears to be no one driver for the sell-off, with the easing of relations with Taiwan over the weekend by the US perhaps increasing concerns that more surprises are on the way from the White House this week. The Nasdaq futures have fallen 0.25%, with the S&P e-minis falling 0.45%, and the Dow Jones futures tumbling by 0.65%.

In Asia, the South Korean Kospi has given back all of its initial gains, spurred by Samsung and tech stocks’ surge, to remain unchanged for the session. China markets though have shrugged off Taiwan concerns and the US backlistings of Chinese companies and payment apps. Mainland markets seem less concerned by any Trump actions this week than in weeks past. The Shanghai Composite and CSI 300 are unchanged. The Hang Seng, meanwhile, is up 0.60%, some way off its earlier highs.

Taipei is flat for the session, while Singapore has fallen 0.30%, although Jakarta has risen by 1.15%. Bangkok is 0.50% higher, but Malaysia has fallen by 1.10% today as markets there await an announcement from the Prime Minister today regarding expanded Covid-19 lockdowns. In Australia, markets have been in the red all day, led lower by banking, resources and gold miners. The ASX 200 and All Ordinaries are down 0.90%.

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