World

Asia Pacific markets muted in early trade following mixed overnight session

Australian markets fell in early trade on Wednesday following mixed sessions overnight where European shares fell but the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose more than 150 points.  

The Australian benchmark ASX 200 was flat.

In South Korea, the Kospi index was down 0.42%.

“Hopes of more fiscal stimulus in the US and optimism about a vaccine weighed against concerns about escalating US-China tensions overnight,” John Bromhead from ANZ Research wrote in a morning note. 

CNBC reported that Republicans are considering extending current unemployment benefits at $400 per month through December. The U.S. is dealing with a wave of unemployment unseen in decades as states shut down their economies to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has infected more than 15 million people worldwide and killed over 620,000. 

Tensions between Washington and Beijing escalated after the U.S. State Department abruptly ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, which drew condemnation from China’s foreign ministry as it warned of firm countermeasures if the U.S. does not reverse its decision. 

Markets in Japan are closed for a public holiday. 

Currencies and oil

In the currency market, the dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of its peers, last traded at 94.982. 

The Australian dollar changed hands at 0.7143. 

Oil prices slipped overnight following data that showed a rise in U.S. crude inventories. Global benchmark Brent settled down 3 cents at $44.29 per barrel while U.S. crude was down 2 cents at $41.90. 

U.S. crude and distillate inventories rose unexpectedly and fuel demand slipped in the most recent week, according to the Energy Information Administration, Reuters reported. 

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