GLOBAL MARKETS-Asian investors prepare for choppy trade as U.S. stimulus talks drag on

NEW YORK, Oct 21 (Reuters) - Asian investors prepared for rough trading on Thursday after a bumpy session on Wall Street amid fears that agreement on a key U.S. stimulus bill will not be reached until after the presidential election on Nov. 3.

In early Asian trade, Australian stocks fell at the open.

“We’re looking at a fairly rough day for regional investors, we had a volatile session in the U.S.,” said Michael McCarthy, chief markets strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney. “Futures markets are reflecting a worse day here. We’ll see losses across the region.”

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe shed 0.06%.

On Wednesday, the Nikkei 225 index closed up 0.31% at 23,639.46. The futures contract is down 0.31% from that close.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were up 0.32%.

Wall Street’s three major averages closed lower on Wednesday after a choppy trading session, as investors eyed difficult negotiations in Washington for a fresh coronavirus stimulus package.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched lower by 0.35%, while the S&P 500 lost 0.22%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.28%.

U.S. lawmakers had not reached an agreement on the stimulus package by late Wednesday. President Donald Trump blasted Democrats in a Tweet, accusing them of being unwilling to compromise, despite earlier reports of progress.

The dollar hit a seven-week low on Wednesday against a basket of currencies, while benchmark U.S. Treasury yields rose to four-month highs, after Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi boosted hopes an agreement on stimulus was close.

Oil prices ended lower after U.S. inventories showed demand weakening for refined products as global COVID-19 cases rose.

Reporting by Jessica DiNapoli in New York; editing by Jane Wardell