Asian stocks traded mixed on Tuesday after US equities turned positive for the year so far, with investors weighing whether the global rally may be excessive given still-poor economic conditions. Treasuries and the yen rose.
Australian stocks were the outperformers, up more than 2%, catching up after a holiday on Monday. Korean shares dipped, with traders monitoring news that North Korea will shut contact with the South. Japanese stocks fell, while they rose in Hong Kong. S&P 500 futures slipped after the benchmark closed at a 15-week high, bringing its rally from the March low to almost 45%. The dollar headed for a ninth day of decline, the longest slide in more than a decade, while oil edged up.
Global equities have climbed back to their levels in February, when the coronavirus began spreading rapidly outside of China. But worries remain that economic growth may struggle to keep pace — the World Bank warned the global economy will contract the most since World War II this year.
“In the coming weeks and months we are still going to have to absorb a great deal of negative economic data and corporate earnings reports, that we eally can’t see the degree of optimism that has undermined the US dollar,” Sean Callow, senior currency strategist at Westpac Banking Corp., said on Bloomberg TV.
On the policy front, the Federal Reserve expanded its Main Street Lending Program, allowing more companies to participate and lessening the burden on banks that create the loans. The move came ahead of the Fed’s policy meeting Wednesday.
To Citigroup Inc. strategists including Tobias Levkovich, positioning in US equities may now be overly extended. For his part, Stan Druckenmiller — who last month warned about owning stocks — said on Monday that he now believes he was “far too cautious” during the current market rally.