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GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian markets under pressure as Wall St falters, COVID-19 cases rise

Jessica DiNapoli
·2 min read

By Jessica DiNapoli

NEW YORK, Oct 19 (Reuters) - Asian stocks came under pressure on Tuesday as a deadline for U.S. lawmakers to pass an economic stimulus bill approached and record daily coronavirus infections in Europe ignited concerns about more severe lockdowns.

In early Asia trade, Australian stocks dipped at the open while MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.06%.

Chris Weston, the head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone, attributed the decline to worries about Washington's stimulus package and positioning ahead of the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election.

"Do you really want to hold those exposures into what could be a volatility event?" Weston said. "We're getting into the Wild West territory where it becomes more whippy."

Japan's Nikkei 225 futures slipped 0.4%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index futures were down 0.59%.

Investors await earnings later in the week for companies including Netflix Inc and Tesla Inc.

They were also waiting to see if the final debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden on Thursday shifts the trajectory of the election.

The number of new COVID-19 cases in the United States last week rose 13% to more than 393,000, approaching levels last seen during a summer peak, according to a Reuters analysis.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.44%, the S&P 500 was 1.63% lower and the Nasdaq Composite settled down 1.65%.

The dollar edged lower on Monday as investors were cautiously optimistic that U.S. lawmakers could agree on a fiscal stimulus package ahead of the elections, and that a coronavirus vaccine will be ready by year-end.

The dollar index fell 0.304%, with the euro up 0.02% to $1.1768.

Treasury yields pared earlier increases on Monday while oil prices dipped partly because Libya plans to boost output.

(Editing by Sam Holmes)