British pound was little changed, Singapore dollar pared gains, Asian stocks up
Asian stocks built on this week’s advance after signs that trade tensions are easing boosted risk appetite. The dollar steadied and Treasury yields pared gains.
Equities from Sydney to Tokyo advanced though were off the day’s highs, while a rally fizzled in Hong Kong and U.S. stock index futures slid. The S&P 500 Index closed higher as President Donald Trump directed officials to explore rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership free-trade deal he pulled out of shortly after taking office. Crude pared this week’s advance as investors assessed the likelihood of a U.S. military retaliation in Syria.
Trade tensions between the U.S. and China that have gripped traders’ attention in recent weeks were also defused as Trump said that the two countries may not end up levying new tariffs on each other following conciliatory remarks on Tuesday by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Meantime, data showed China’s exports in yuan terms slid 9.8 percent in March, belying economists’ predictions of a 8 percent gain.
Focus has now turned to U.S. earnings season, with financial firms posting some of the biggest gains Thursday after BlackRock Inc.’s first-quarter results topped estimates. JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. are scheduled to release theirs on Friday.
Elsewhere, Indonesia’s rupiah advanced after the country won a sovereign rating upgrade with Moody’s Investors Service raising its assessment to the second-lowest investment grade, months after Fitch Rating lifted its own score. Gains in Singapore’s dollar spurred by a tightening in monetary policy amid solid economic growth prospects for 2018 evaporated.
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority bought the local currency for the first time since the current trading band was imposed in 2005, after the exchange rate sank to the weak end of its permitted range. Read more on that here.
Here are the main moves in markets:
- Japan’s Topix index climbed 0.7 percent as of 2:20 p.m. in Tokyo.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was flat and the Shanghai Composite fell 0.2 percent.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index gained 0.3 percent.
- Futures on the S&P 500 were down 0.2 percent. The underlying index climbed 0.8 percent Thursday.
- Futures on the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index slid 0.1 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat after Thursday small gain.
- The euro held at $1.2331.
- The British pound was little changed at $1.4237 after climbing 0.4 percent.
- The Japanese yen added 0.1 percent to 107.45 per dollar.
- The Singapore dollar pared gains of as much as 0.3 percent to 1.3083 against the dollar to trade at 1.3109.
- Indonesia’s rupiah strengthened 0.1 percent to 13,759 per dollar. Read more here on how analysts and investors reaction to Moody’s move.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries slipped back two basis points to 2.82 percent.
- Yields on Australian 10-year bonds rose five basis points to 2.72 percent.
- West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.1 percent to $67 a barrel.
- Gold added 0.3 percent to $1,339.4 an ounce after falling 1.4 percent.