REUTERS: Asian equities were set to rise on Friday after shares of Apple , Amazon and Facebook surged in extended trading on Thursday, with Alphabet also climbing, while the U.S. dollar continued to slide.
The Big Tech quartet reported quarterly earnings on the same day for the first time ever, all topping Wall Street estimates.
“All of them punched the lights out with respect to their earnings numbers,” said National Australia Bank strategist Ray Attrill. “It looks like it should be a pretty risk positive run into the weekend,” Attrill said, also pointing to E-mini futures for the S&P 500 , which rose 0.58per cent.
Deemed “stay-at-home” winners as millions of Americans were ordered indoors to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, shares of the largest U.S. technology companies have hit record highs in recent months as the coronavirus pandemic has thrown the economy into its steepest contraction since the Great Depression.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures rose 0.06per cent. Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures lost 0.47per cent, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures added 0.34per cent.
Analysts are expecting industrial production data from Japan on Friday, along with China’s Purchasing Managers Index, a measure of factory activity.
Some fund managers also adjust their hedges on the last day of the month, which is likely to weaken the U.S. dollar and strengthen other currencies, such as the euro and Australian dollar, said Joseph Capurso, head of international economics at Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
U.S. stock markets, oil prices and the dollar slid on Thursday as new government data underscored the deep economic impact of the coronavirus and U.S. President Donald Trump raised the possibility of delaying the November election.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 225.92 points, or 0.85per cent, to 26,313.65, the S&P 500 lost 12.22 points, or 0.38per cent, to 3,246.22 and the Nasdaq Composite added 44.87 points, or 0.43per cent, to 10,587.81.
The dollar index fell 0.591per cent, and remains on course for its worst monthly performance in a decade, with the euro up 0.2per cent to US$1.187.
The dollar has fallen on expectations the Fed will maintain its ultra-loose monetary policy for years, which risks adding inflationary pressure.
Trump repeated his claims, without evidence, of mail-in voter fraud on Thursday, writing in a Twitter post: “delay the election until people can properly, securely and safely vote???”
At a White House news conference later in the day, Trump did not call again for an election delay but said he was worried about fraud and a long wait for results from counting mail ballots.
“Do I want to see a date change? No. But I don’t want to see a crooked election,” he told reporters.
New U.S. government data on Thursday underscored the deep economic impact of the coronavirus.
U.S. GDP collapsed at a 32.9per cent annualized rate during the second quarter, slightly less than expected, but still the deepest decline in output since the government started keeping records in 1947, the Commerce Department said.
Also jobless claims rose last week, adding to signs the momentum of economic recovery has slowed as coronavirus cases spiraled in southern and western U.S. states.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 0.06per cent lower.
In commodity markets, oil markets fell following Trump’s tweet. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled down US$1.35, or 3.3per cent, at US$39.92 a barrel after falling 5per cent earlier in the session.
Spot gold dropped 0.2per cent to US$1,955.65 an ounce. U.S. gold futures gained 0.43per cent to US$1,950.60 an ounce.
(Reporting by Suzanne Barlyn; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)