Early market review: Stocks in Japan and Australia climbed
Equities in Asia followed their U.S. counterparts higher and the dollar retained gains after a slew of data and comments from Federal Reserve officials helped ratchet up bets that the U.S. economy is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates.
Stocks in Japan and Australia climbed after the S&P 500 reached another all-time high, while the Bloomberg Dollar Index traded near the highest level in almost three months. Asian equities are headed for their best week since mid-July — though several markets have been closed — and oil traded back above $50 a barrel amid the general cheer about global economic conditions. The Aussie retreated after a report that one Australian central bank board member isn’t ruling out an interest-rate cut.
Better-than-forecast American factory orders and hawkish comments by regional Fed President John Williams reinforced optimism in the world’s largest economy ahead of Friday’s U.S. jobs report and a speech on monetary policy by the New York Fed chief. Good vibes were to be found even in Spain, where equities and bonds climbed on Thursday after reports that Catalans were stalling their push for independence from Spain. Read more on that here.
The S&P 500 capped its longest winning streak since July 2013, pulling volatility down to a record low in data going back to 1990:
U.S. Treasury yields rose slightly Thursday, with Fed funds futures now indicating about a 75 percent chance of a December rate hike. Williams said moderate growth and faster inflation will allow the central bank to raise its benchmark, without giving any hints on the timing of the next move. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker separately told CNBC television that he’s “penciled in” a move in December and three hikes next year.
Here are the main moves in markets:
- Japan’s Topix index was up 0.2 percent, showing little impact from a proposal by the country’s key opposition party in the run-up to this month’s general election to consider taxing some retained earnings.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.9 percent.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed again after a day off yesterday, rising 0.4 percent. China and South Korea markets remain closed.
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed. The underlying gauge advanced 0.6 percent to 2,552.07 Thursday.
- Spain’s IBEX Index rose more than 2 percent Thursday, but remains down for the week.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat after increasing 0.6 percent Thursday, touching the highest in 11 weeks.
- The yen was flat at 112.88 per dollar.
- The Aussie slipped 0.6 percent to 77.52 U.S. cents.
- The euro was at $1.1698.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries held at 2.35 percent on Friday, up 2 basis points this week.
- Spain’s 10-year yields fell about 8 basis points to 1.70 percent on Thursday.
- West Texas Intermediate crude was at $50.76 per barrel after gaining 1.6 percent on Thursday. Oil remains on course for its first weekly drop since the start of September.
- Gold was flat at $1,268.732 an ounce.