U.K. currency near lowest since April; Asia-Pacific stocks advanced
Asia Stocks Climb as Tech Rout Eases; Pound Flat
- U.K. currency near lowest since April after election upheaval
- Investors looking to central bank policy meetings this week
Asia-Pacific stocks advanced as the global selloff in technology shares showed signs of easing, while the pound held losses as Theresa May fought to survive the fallout from the British general election.
Equities from Australia to Hong Kong climbed. Technology shares in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index were little changed, after the Nasdaq 100 Index capped its biggest two-day decline since September. Crude oil traded above $46 a barrel following its first back-to-back gain in three weeks. Treasuries, gold and the dollar were little changed before this week’s Federal Reserve policy decision.
The sudden slide in tech stocks, whose gains had helped send global equities to repeated record levels this year, blindsided many investors after markets largely brushed aside last week’s trio of high-risk events. The question now is whether the drops represent merely a pause or a more fundamental crack in the U.S. stock bull market. The Nasdaq 100 fell as much as 1.9 percent before paring losses into the close.
Samsung Electronics Co. was little changed after leading declines in Asia during Monday’s rout. Tencent Holdings Ltd., which tumbled 2.5 percent in the previous session, and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., which dropped the most since December, both advanced more than 0.4 percent on Tuesday.
The Asian markets have moved on from the technology rout, according to Lim Dong-yul, a senior trader at CMC Markets in Singapore. Asian technology companies are more hardware-focused and have other businesses other than technology manufacturing that help to support their prices more than software-based companies in the U.S., he said.
Despite the tech selloff and political uncertainties in Washington and London, global stocks are still trading less than 0.8 percent from an all-time high. In the U.K., May apologized to her own lawmakers for the election debacle as she sought to secure the votes needed to prop up her minority government. The Fed is this week set to lift rates, leading a pack of central banks that are moving in the direction of removing ultra-accommodative policy.
Here’s what investors will be watching:
- Investors may get more drama from Washington as Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify publicly Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee. He will likely face pressure to explain his role in the firing of James Comey and contacts that he and associates of President Donald Trump had with Russian officials.
- Fed policy makers are forecast to raise their benchmark interest rate for the second time this year on Wednesday. Central banks in Japan, Switzerland and Britain are also scheduled to weigh in with policy decisions this week.
Here are the main moves in markets:
- Japan’s Topix rose 0.2 percent while the Nikkei 225 Stock Average fell less than 0.1 percent as of 1:50 p.m. in Tokyo.
- Australia’s benchmark gauge climbed 1.2 percent, with energy and financial shares leading the way as investors returned from a holiday. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.5 percent.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng increased 0.5 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index advanced 0.4 percent.
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose 0.1 percent. The Nasdaq 100 fell 0.6 percent on Monday, adding to its 2.4 percent rout on Friday. Apple fell 2.4 percent while Microsoft Corp. slid 0.8 percent. Losses in the S&P 500 were muted, with the benchmark gauge down 0.1 percent. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 1 percent, with ASML Holding dropping 3.9 percent.
- The yen was little changed at 109.99 per dollar, after Monday’s 0.3 percent gain.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat. The New Zealand dollar rose 0.4 percent and the Canadian dollar climbed 0.2 percent. The South Korean won slipped 0.1 percent.
- The pound was steady at $1.2657, after sliding as much as 0.8 percent on Monday; it hit $1.2636 on Friday, the lowest since May 18. The euro retreated 0.1 percent to $1.1193.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries was flat at 2.21 percent, after rising for four straight sessions.
- Australian benchmark yields fell less than one basis point to 2.39 percent.
- West Texas crude futures rose 0.4 percent to $46.25, gaining for a third day before U.S. government data forecast to show crude stockpiles resumed declines after an unexpected rise.
- Gold was little changed at $1,266.36, after four straight days of losses as investors anticipate the Fed will raise rates Wednesday.