Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Thursday as investors await the passage of a $2 trillion stimulus package in the U.S. to combat the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Investors are also looking ahead to a report on weekly U.S. jobless claims scheduled to be released later in the day, as it will be among the first data points to reflect the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
Shares in Japan led losses among the region’s major markets, with the Nikkei 225 falling 4.5%, after three days of blockbuster gains. Mainland Chinese stocks slipped on the day, with the Shanghai composite 0.6% lower, whereas the Shenzhen composite was 1% lower. South Korea’s Kospi finished its trading day 1.1% lower. Meanwhile, the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 2.3%
In currencies, the mood drove weakness in both the U.S. dollar and the riskier Aussie. The U.S. dollar index, which track the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 100.862 after seeing levels above 102 earlier in the week. Oil edged lower with fears of plunging demand just outweighing stimulus hopes.