Asian markets looked set for another weaker open on Wednesday as worries about a surge in coronavirus cases and dwindling hopes for a U.S. stimulus package kept investors gloomy.
Australia's ASX 200 opened down about 0.43%, while Japan's Nikkei 225 futures NKc1 were down 0.36%. The Nikkei 225 index closed down 0.04% on Tuesday. The futures contract was down 0.62% from that close.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures were up 0.4%.
MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe was down 0.27%.
“Markets had a risk-off tone as U.S. consumer confidence data disappointed, COVID-19 cases continue to rise, and the chances of a fiscal deal before the U.S. election faded,” ANZ analysts said in a note.
Investors appeared content to steer clear of risk with looming uncertainty, headlined by the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election. Former Vice President Joe Biden has enjoyed a consistent leader over President Donald Trump, but the race is closer in battleground states that could determine the outcome.
U.S. markets slipped as Trump acknowledged an economic relief package would likely come after the Nov. 3 election.
In addition, new data showed U.S. consumer confidence dipping in October, although orders of key capital goods hit a six-year high.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 222.19 points, or 0.8% and the S&P 500 lost 10.29 points, or 0.30%. The Nasdaq Composite added 72.41 points, or 0.64%.
Microsoft kicked off a slate of reporting from tech heavyweights by beating Wall Street estimates for quarterly revenue, buoyed by its flagship cloud computing business amid increased work-from-home arrangements. Apple Inc, Amazon.com, and Google-parent Alphabet are among major tech players reporting later this week.
The U.S. dollar fell against higher risk currencies on uncertainty about the economy and the presidential election. The dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of major currencies, weakened 0.1% to 92.93.
Brent crude LCOc1 closed up 75 cents, or 1.9%, as companies shut down some production in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico ahead of an approaching storm. U.S. oil CLc1 gained $1.01 cents, or 2.6%.
Safe-haven U.S. Treasury yields fell on Tuesday and the yield curve flattened as markets kept looking for a stimulus deal. The benchmark 10-year yield was down 2.7 basis points in afternoon trading at 0.776%. Gold prices also climbed.