Equities in Asia were mixed as investors assessed the latest news on U.S. tax-cut plans and looked ahead to Friday’s American jobs report. The Australian dollar took a hit and bond yields headed lower after retail sales data raised doubts about the strength of the economy. Apple Inc. supported Nasdaq futures after its forecast for holiday sales topped estimates and suppliers of the iPhone maker climbed in Asia.
The S&P 500 Index closed little changed as investors weighed the impact of House Republican leaders’ sweeping tax plan, which includes lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent. The dollar is headed for a weekly loss. Venezuela’s president said the nation will restructure its global debt as it struggles to meet its obligations. Australia and Hong Kong equities gained, while South Korea’s main index was little changed. Bitcoin hit $7,000, climbing to a fresh record before paring the advance. With Japan closed for a holiday, there may be little direction in Asian trading. U.S. employment probably surged in October, rebounding from a hurricane-depressed September, economists predicted ahead of the jobs report. U.S.
Treasury yields dipped Thursday as President Donald Trump confirmed that Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell is his pick to chair the central bank. U.S. stocks finished mixed on Thursday as investors pored over House Republican's tax proposals and President Donald Trump picked Fed Governor Jerome "Jay" Powell to lead the Federal Reserve. Weak results from consumer and health care companies pulled those parts of the market lower. The House tax plan would cut the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent from 35 percent.
That helped smaller, more U.S.-focused companies, because they generally pay higher tax rates than larger firms that do a lot of business in other countries. Home improvement retailers and homebuilders slumped because the bill would reduce the amount of interest Americans can deduct on new mortgages. That could hurt home sales, particularly in high-cost areas. The GOP tax plan was mostly what investors expected, said Mona Mahajan, U.S. investment strategist for Allianz Global Investors. She noted that the bill would immediately lower the corporate tax rate instead of reducing it over time, an idea some Republicans had proposed earlier.