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Asian Markets Update

FOREX_Asian-markets-update_FXPIG

Many Asia-Pacific stocks were down modestly midday Friday, with markets getting little direction from European and U.S. activity overnight after what has been a choppy trading week.

The declines came against a backdrop of more political rumblings globally. Market participants digested U.S. sanctions against Russia, reshuffles in the White House and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s decision to subpoena the Trump Organization.

While most indexes in Asia were down some 0.25% and S&P 500 futures eased 0.1%, a rally to session highs for the yen sent Japanese stocks to session lows after equities’ midday break. The Nikkei was recently down 0.7% as the yen widely rose 0.4% against other major global currencies to return near the strongest levels of March.

Taiwan’s benchmark Y9999, +0.08% fell 0.6% as index heavyweight Taiwan2330, +0.00%  ropped 1.8%. That erased the week’s gain for the stock. Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics 2330, +0.00%  retreated 2.1%, helping push South Korea’s KospiSEU, +0.06%  down 0.4%.

Australia’s benchmark XJO, +0.48%  was a rare gainer, rising 0.4% in late-afternoon trading there after three-straight days of declines. Big miners BHP BillitonBHP, +0.11% BLT, -0.48%  and Rio Tinto RIO, +0.77% RIO, +0.54% RIO, +0.74%  which have been strong this week amid the local market’s weakness, rose a further 1% Friday.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 NZ50GR, +0.12%  finished up 0.1%, logging its third record closing high of the week after not having any since the first two trading days of 2018.

Equities have generally been trending higher after last month’s slump. But, as was illustrated in this week’s up-and-down action, it hasn’t been without its hiccups.

Technicals, though, appear to be getting better.

In the day’s economic news from Asia, Singapore’s February non-oil exports fell 5.9% from a year earlier. But Commerzbank attributed the decline to the Lunar New Year holiday, which occurred in February this year and late January in 2017.

Re-exports, a closer reflection of regional trade, were flat in February after posting a 5% gain from a year earlier in January. Exports, which grew strongly in 2017, are expected to slow in 2018, at least partially due to tough year-over-year comparisons.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index STI, -0.09%   was recently down 0.2%.

In other markets, oil futures were slightly lower. Also, bitcoin’s BTCUSD, -0.60%  price has stabilized around $8,000, according to CoinDesk, after tumbling to its lowest level in more than a month Thursday.

Looking ahead, a two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting is scheduled to kick off in the U.S. on Tuesday. While the Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates, people will be looking for indications as to whether there could be four increases this year. The central bank’s economic projections in December showed consensus centered around three; updated forecasts will be released next week.

Source: marketwatch.com

Many Asia-Pacific stocks were down modestly midday Friday, with markets getting little direction from European and U.S. activity overnight after what has been a choppy trading week.

The declines came against a backdrop of more political rumblings globally. Market participants digested U.S. sanctions against Russia, reshuffles in the White House and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s decision to subpoena the Trump Organization.

While most indexes in Asia were down some 0.25% and S&P 500 futures eased 0.1%, a rally to session highs for the yen sent Japanese stocks to session lows after equities’ midday break. The Nikkei was recently down 0.7% as the yen widely rose 0.4% against other major global currencies to return near the strongest levels of March.

Taiwan’s benchmark Y9999, +0.08% fell 0.6% as index heavyweight Taiwan2330, +0.00%  ropped 1.8%. That erased the week’s gain for the stock. Meanwhile, Samsung Electronics 2330, +0.00%  retreated 2.1%, helping push South Korea’s KospiSEU, +0.06%  down 0.4%.

Australia’s benchmark XJO, +0.48%  was a rare gainer, rising 0.4% in late-afternoon trading there after three-straight days of declines. Big miners BHP BillitonBHP, +0.11% BLT, -0.48%  and Rio Tinto RIO, +0.77% RIO, +0.54% RIO, +0.74%  which have been strong this week amid the local market’s weakness, rose a further 1% Friday.

New Zealand’s NZX 50 NZ50GR, +0.12%  finished up 0.1%, logging its third record closing high of the week after not having any since the first two trading days of 2018.

Equities have generally been trending higher after last month’s slump. But, as was illustrated in this week’s up-and-down action, it hasn’t been without its hiccups.

Technicals, though, appear to be getting better.

In the day’s economic news from Asia, Singapore’s February non-oil exports fell 5.9% from a year earlier. But Commerzbank attributed the decline to the Lunar New Year holiday, which occurred in February this year and late January in 2017.

Re-exports, a closer reflection of regional trade, were flat in February after posting a 5% gain from a year earlier in January. Exports, which grew strongly in 2017, are expected to slow in 2018, at least partially due to tough year-over-year comparisons.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index STI, -0.09%   was recently down 0.2%.

In other markets, oil futures were slightly lower. Also, bitcoin’s BTCUSD, -0.60%  price has stabilized around $8,000, according to CoinDesk, after tumbling to its lowest level in more than a month Thursday.

Looking ahead, a two-day Federal Open Market Committee meeting is scheduled to kick off in the U.S. on Tuesday. While the Fed is widely expected to raise interest rates, people will be looking for indications as to whether there could be four increases this year. The central bank’s economic projections in December showed consensus centered around three; updated forecasts will be released next week.

Source: marketwatch.com

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