Asia stocks skid with U.S. futures, euro holds gains


SYDNEY: Asian shares slid on Tuesday as relief at a rally on Wall Street was punctured by a retreat in U.S. stock futures, while the euro held near one-month highs as odds narrowed on a July rate rise from the ECB.

After ending Monday firmer, Nasdaq futures lost 1.5%, with traders blaming an earnings warning from Snap which saw shares in the Snapchat owner tumble 28%.

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S&P 500 futures slipped 0.9%, surrendering some of Monday's 1.8% bounce. EUROSTOXX 50 futures fell 0.5% and FTSE futures 0.6%.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan dipped 0.8% in hesitant trading. Japan's Nikkei fell 0.8% and Chinese blue chips 1.1%.

Markets had taken some comfort from U.S. President Joe Biden's comment on Monday that he was considering easing tariffs on China, and from Beijing's ongoing promises of stimulus.

Unfortunately, China's zero-COVID policy, with attendant lockdowns, has already done considerable economic damage.

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"Following disappointing April activity data, we have downgraded our China GDP (gross domestic product) forecast again and now look for 2Q GDP to contract 5.4% annualised, previously ‒1.5%," warned analysts at JPMorgan.

"Our 2Q global growth forecast stands at just 0.6% annualised rate, easily the weakest quarter since the global financial crisis outside of 2020."

Early surveys of European and U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers for May due on Tuesday could show some slowing in what has been a resilient sector of the global economy.

Japan's manufacturing activity grew at the slowest pace in three months in May amid supply bottlenecks, while Toyota announced a cut in its output plans.

Analysts have also been trimming growth forecasts for the United States given the Federal Reserve seems certain to hike interest rates by a full percentage point over the next two months.

The hawkish message is likely to be driven home this week by a host of Fed speakers and minutes of the last policy meeting due on Wednesday.

The European Central Bank is also turning more hawkish, with President Christine Lagarde surprising many by opening the door for a rate rise as early as July.

That saw the euro at $1.0665, having bounced 1.2% overnight in its best session since early March. It now faces stiff chart resistance around $1.0756.

The dollar also retreated versus sterling and a range of currencies, taking the dollar index down 0.9% overnight. It was last up a fraction at 102.240.

Meanwhile, the euro had jumped sharply to 136.05 Japanese yen, while the dollar faded a little to 127.65 yen.

The pullback in the dollar helped gold regain some ground to $1,855 an ounce.

Oil prices were caught between worries over a possible global downturn and the prospect of higher fuel demand from the U.S. summer driving season and Shanghai's plans to reopen after a two-month coronavirus lockdown.

U.S. crude eased 66 cents to $109.63 per barrel, while Brent lost 70 cents to $112.74. - Reuters

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