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  • Asian shares drift between mild gains and losses amid a quiet session.
  • Japan’s National CPI came in weaker than expected, Sino-American tussles are back.
  • NZ FinMin rules out RBNZ’s rate cut at least until March 2021.
  • Wall Street stretched post-Fed losses amid fears of stress tests.

Equities in Asia remain directionless as Fed-backed fears join US-China tension while battling with the hopes of further easy money waves from Japan. While portraying the same, MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares, ex-Japan, rise 0.30% intraday and over 1.0% weekly to defy the previous two weekly declines. On the other hand, Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Australia’s ASX 200 stays flat with nearly 0.10% moves during the pre-European session on Friday.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 and Chinese stocks can be considered as active, though on the red side. The comments from New Zealand’s (NZ) Finance Minister (FinMin) Grant Robertson that the RBNZ is likely to stand pat on rate changes till March help print near 1.0% loss of the NZX 50. On the other hand, the US and China are again at loggerheads and the fears of Beijing fading the recovery moves weigh on the stocks from the dragon land. The Trump administration takes interest in getting Taiwan connected to the United Nations (UN), which in turn enables the Global Times to show readiness to use “non-peaceful and other necessary means.”

Elsewhere, Indonesia’s IDX Composite and South Korea’s KOSPI are mildly positive with no major data/events up for release. The same can be said for India’s BSE Sensex that prints 0.40% gains to 39,134 by the press time.

The S&P 500 Futures mark 0.10% loss and the US 10-year Treasury yields are also sluggish near 0.68% as the Federal Reserve hinted stress tests for large banks and will roll out the result in a month. It’s worth mentioning that Wall Street closed in red as tech sell-off continued and the mixed US data failed to forget the Fed’s signals to pause easy money the previous day.

It should be noted that the coronavirus (COVID-19) fears are regaining momentum with the group of British scientists pushing UK PM Boris Johnson for a two-week nation lockdown. The pandemic conditions are also recently worsening in the US and Europe whereas numbers from India suggest the nation will be the next global leader, unfortunately, as far as the deadly virus cases are concerned.

Looking forward, a lack of major data/events will keep market players directed towards risk catalysts for fresh impulse. Among them, virus headlines and Brexit may gain major attention while any surprise comments from the Fed and/or any other central bankers’ won’t be ignored.