Asian stocks mixed, British pound was little changed: Key financial events to watch
Asian stocks were mixed following a lackluster session in the U.S. as investors await the major central bank meetings this week, after shrugging at Tuesday’s North Korea summit.
Japanese shares had a modest gain as the yen dipped, while equities fell in Australia and Hong Kong. Chinese shares declined, with ZTE Corp. plunging by its daily limit after it agreed to a $1 billion fine. Safe-haven assets including the yen and gold edged lower amid the prospects of diminishing geopolitical risks after President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un pledged to work toward peace on the Korean peninsula.
Central banks are now in focus, with a seemingly certain Federal Reserve rate increase on Wednesday, plus the prospect of a hawkish European Central Bank tilt on Thursday. The Bank of Japan’s policy decision is due Friday. Tuesday’s U.S. inflation figures — which were in line with estimates — may reignite the four-hikes-in-2018 debate ahead of the Fed’s decision.
“Tomorrow’s rate hike is a done deal, we know that,” Bodhi Ganguli, Dun & Bradstreet lead economist, told Bloomberg Television. “In terms of the conversation about three or four, that’s where the Fed has to make up its mind. I would be more careful trying to find out if September is a go or if December is a go.”
Elsewhere, West Texas crude fluctuated around $66 a barrel after Iraq joined other OPEC members in resisting a push to boost oil supplies. The Philippine peso led declines in Asian emerging currencies, plumbing a fresh 12-year low as the nation’s stocks plunged more than 2 percent.
South Korean and Indonesian markets are closed for a holiday.
These are some key events to watch this week:
- The Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates Wednesday as the U.S. economy remains solid.
- The European Central Bank rates decision comes Thursday with a briefing from President Mario Draghi.
- The Bank of Japan June monetary policy decision and news conference is Friday.
- FIFA expects more than 3 billion viewers for the World Cup that begins this week in Russia.
And these are the main moves in markets:
- Japan’s Topix index rose 0.5 percent as of 2:17 p.m. in Tokyo.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index lost 0.6 percent.
- Hang Seng Index declined 0.6 percent.
- China’s CSI 300 Index lost 0.8 percent, with ZTE the biggest decliner.
- S&P 500 futures rose 0.2 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.1 percent to its highest in two weeks.
- The yen fell 0.2 percent to 110.62 per dollar near the weakest in almost three weeks.
- The euro traded at $1.1747.
- The British pound was little changed at $1.3364.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries held around 2.96 percent.
- Australia’s 10-year bond yield fell more than two basis point to 2.78 percent.
- West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.5 percent to $66.02 a barrel after gaining for two days.
- Gold was little changed at $1,295.17 an ounce.