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GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian stocks ease as caution persists despite calmer markets

Published 04-02-2021, 06:01 am
Updated 04-02-2021, 06:06 am
© Reuters.
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By Imani Moise

NEW YORK, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Asian stocks came under pressure on Thursday as a mixed Wall Street session gave investors few immediate reasons to increase their risk positions following the recent social media-driven trading chaos.

Markets have calmed significantly in the past few days with the Cboe Volatility index .VIX down on Wednesday as wild swings in stock prices of GameStop (NYSE:GME) GME.N and other social media favorites subsided and the retail trading frenzy faded.

However, caution continues to dominate sentiment despite positive corporate earnings and firm signs of economic recovery.

The Australian S&P/ASX 200 index .AXJO lost 0.34% during early trade and Japan's Nikkei 225 .N225 fell 0.35%.

The lackluster start to Asian trade followed a mixed Wall Street session with the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI up 0.12%, the S&P 500 .SPX gaining 0.10%, but the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC losing 0.02%.

Supporting U.S. sentiment were strong earnings by technology giants Alphabet Inc GOOG.O and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ:AMZN).

The Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) parent company's beat sent shares soaring nearly 7% on Tuesday, but some analysts warned the move was too extreme.

"After lagging its FAANG peers in 2020, shares of Alphabet are making up for lost time in 2021," said Paul Hickey of Bespoke Investment Group.

"You'd expect GOOGL to at least consolidate a bit before it's able to build on (year-to-date) gains."

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 EScv1 inched 0.26% higher while Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures .HIS HSIc1 lost 0.16%.

MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.04%.

Oil markets continued to advance as inventories hit their lowest level since March. U.S. crude CLc1 recently rose 0.45% to $55.94 per barrel and Brent LCOc1 was at $58.67, up 2.11% on the day.

U.S. Treasury yields continued to rise on the hopes of a large stimulus package and the dollar strengthened against a basket of currencies as investors felt more confident in the U.S. recovery trajectory than in Europe's recovery. The benchmark 10-year yield US10YT=RR was last up 3.2 basis points at 1.1391%

The 30-year bond US30YT=RR was last up 4.9 basis point at 1.9267%, while the 20-year yield hit 1.735%, its highest level since that bond maturity was relaunched in May 2020.

The dollar index =USD was up 0.07% at 91.145 in afternoon trading in New York after rising to a two-month high of 91.308 during the session.

Spot gold XAU= fell 0.2% to $1,833.93 per ounce and U.S. gold futures GCv1 settled up 0.1% at $1,835.10.

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