New coronavirus cases in Tokyo hit a record high near 500
The recent rally cooled off amid disappointing economic data, sending Wall Street indexes lower overnight. The official report showed that US retail sales rose 0.3% last month, versus a 0.5% gain expected. Furthermore, the Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell said the American economy has a long way to go before it returns to pre-pandemic levels. As a result, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 0.6%, the S&P 500 dipped 0.5%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.2%.
Asian equities were marginally higher on Wednesday in a sign of waning vaccine optimism amid concerns over the long-term impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.5%, the Kospi in Seoul was up 0.3% while Japan’s Nikkei 225 bucked the trend and lost over 1% amid the news that new coronavirus cases in Tokyo hit a record high near 500.
European stocks opened lower to start the day, mirroring the softer tones in US futures, with positive vibes keep fading as the week progresses. Investors keep a cautious tone amid the lingering worries about fresh lockdown measures caused by a resurgent pandemic. The pan-European STOXX 600 remains under pressure after dropping 0.4% on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the USD index loses further momentum, retreating to the 92.00 figure On Wednesday despite the risk-off sentiment dominates the markets. The greenback has been losing ground for the fifth consecutive session. Later in the day, US housing starts and building permits are due. Also, the Federal Reserve officials Evans, Williams, and Bullard are due to speak.
In other markets, bitcoin extended its spectacular rally to the $18,500 level last seen in early-2018. Since then, the cryptocurrency has retreated marginally while staying on the offensive and could climb to fresh long-term tops after a pause. In case of a bearish correction, the immediate support should be expected at $17,900, followed by $17,600.