Overnight in Asia, China’s CSI 300 rose 0.33%, but Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 0.33%. In Europe, the continent-wide Stoxx 600 inched 0.07% higher but the UK’s FTSE 100 was roughly flat.
Investors were looking ahead to a series of key US economic data releases. New weekly jobless claims will give an up-to-date sense of the state of the job market; preliminary gross domestic product figures are due for the first quarter; and durable goods orders for April are set to be released.
“Once the US wakes up, we get bombarded with US indicators all at the same time,” Marshall Gittler, head of investment research at BDSwiss, said.
Investors will be watching the indicators closely for any signs of a slow-down in hiring or a rise in inflation, both of which have shaken markets in recent weeks.
“US durable goods orders are expected to be up yet again, although somewhat less than in recent months,” Gittler said. He added that data should point to an expansion of production capacity, which would be disinflationary and would cheer investors.
Gittler said new US jobless claims, which analysts think will fall to 425,000, appear to be in an accelerating decline. “They’ve been falling quite a lot recently and helping to boost investor sentiment.”
Ahead of the data releases, the yield on the key 10-year US Treasury note picked up 1.2 basis points to 1.586%. Yields move inversely to prices.
Meanwhile, the dollar index rose was flat at 90.05. The greenback was around where it started the year, with other global currencies gaining in line with the improvement in the global economic picture.
In cryptoland, bitcoin’s rally faltered and the most-traded currency slipped below $40,000. Ether, binance coin, XRP and cardano were also down between 2 and 3%.
Steen Jakobsen, chief investment officer at Saxo Bank, said: “Yesterday’s attempt in bitcoin to push above the $40,000 level was rejected and [bitcoin] is trading around $38,000 in early European trading hours, with the $37,646 level potentially being the trigger point for another selloff.”
Bitcoin was down almost 40% from its all-time high of close to $65,000 touched in April. The key drivers of the price fall were Elon Musk’s Tesla halting payments for its vehicles in bitcoin, and China announcing a fresh crackdown on the cryptocurrency.
In the oil markets, Brent crude was down 0.74% to $68.22 a barrel, while WTI crude fell 0.79% to $65.69 a barrel.