Asian investors prepare for choppy trade as U.S. stimulus talks drag on

© Reuters. Men wearing protective face masks chat in front of a screen displaying Nikkei share average and world stock indexes, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Tokyo

By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian investors prepared for rough trading on Thursday after a bumpy session on Wall Street amid fears that agreement on a key U.S. stimulus bill will not be reached until after the presidential election on Nov. 3.

In early Asian trade, Australian stocks () fell at the open.

“We’re looking at a fairly rough day for regional investors, we had a volatile session in the U.S.,” said Michael McCarthy, chief markets strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. “Futures markets are reflecting a worse day here. We’ll see losses across the region.”

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe () shed 0.06%.

On Wednesday, the Nikkei 225 index () closed up 0.31% at 23,639.46. The futures contract is down 0.31% from that close.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures () <.hsic1> were up 0.32%.

Wall Street’s three major averages closed lower on Wednesday after a choppy trading session, as investors eyed difficult negotiations in Washington for a fresh coronavirus stimulus package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average () inched lower by 0.35%, while the S&P 500 () lost 0.22%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite () dropped 0.28%.

U.S. lawmakers had not reached an agreement on the stimulus package by late Wednesday. President Donald Trump blasted Democrats in a Tweet, accusing them of being unwilling to compromise, despite earlier reports of progress. [L1N2HC1JV]

The dollar hit a seven-week low on Wednesday against a basket of currencies, while benchmark U.S. Treasury yields rose to four-month highs, after Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi boosted hopes an agreement on stimulus was close.

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Oil prices ended lower after U.S. inventories showed demand weakening for refined products as global COVID-19 cases rose.

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