Asian equities mixed, Yen and pound little changed; Investors review
Asian equities were mixed after U.S. equities dipped in the wake of congressional passage of U.S. tax cuts, suggesting investors see the growth-boost narrative from the corporate and individual rate reductions as having played out.
Benchmark gauges in Sydney and Seoul fell, while those in Hong Kong and Shanghai rose. The S&P 500 Index gave back a rally of as much as 0.4 percent to close down for the session in New York. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.1 percent. Treasuries declined Wednesday, with 10-year yields touching 2.5 percent for the first time since March before slipping back Thursday. The euro is within a cent of its high for the month.
“It seems that for the moment stock traders appear to feel the good news is priced in,” Greg McKenna, Sydney-based chief market strategist at CFD and FX provider AxiTrader, said of the tax cuts.
The Bank of Japan left monetary stimulus unchanged in the final policy meeting of 2017. Governor Haruhiko Kuroda holds a press conference at 3:30 p.m in Tokyo, and traders will be eager for insights into the policy path for 2018, as well as any hints as to whether he wants to stay at the helm after his term ends in April. Taiwan is also expected to leave interest rates unchanged.
Elsewhere, investors will be watching the outcome of regional elections in Catalonia on Thursday that give voters another chance to express their view on whether the region should press ahead with its fight to break away or remain within Spain. South Africa’s rand continued to whipsaw investors, reversing gains of as much as 1.1 percent after the ruling African National Congress agreed to seek a change in the constitution to allow for the expropriation of land without compensation.
Meanwhile, oil is trading above $58 after a report of a drop in U.S. crude stockpiles, and gold edged higher.
These are the main moves in markets:
- Japan’s Topix Index was up 0.1 percent at the close in Tokyo, and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average declined 0.1 percent.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.6 percent, and the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.5 percent.
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index were little changed after the underlying gauge slid 0.1 percent to 2,679.25 Wednesday.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was down 0.3 percent.
- The yen was little changed at 113.39 per dollar.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.
- The euro was trading at $1.1868.
- The pound was little changed at $1.3366.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell two basis points percent.
- Australia’s 10-year yield rose two basis points to 2.66 percent.
- West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed at $58.06 a barrel.
- Gold was at $1,266.11.