Asia stocks rise with S&P futures, US dollar declines

An investor looks at a screen showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China February 9, 2018. — Reuters pic
An investor looks at a screen showing stock information at a brokerage house in Shanghai, China February 9, 2018. — Reuters pic

HONG KONG, Feb 12 — Investors got a reprieve from the recent turmoil with Asian stocks recovering from their worst weekly rout since 2011 as volatility swept global markets. The US dollar declined against most major peers.

Equity benchmarks rose in Hong Kong, China and South Korea after the S&P 500 Index jumped on Friday and the futures extended gains in Asia at the start of the week. Australian banks dragged the benchmark there down at the start of a sweeping inquiry into the nation’s financial system. Japan is closed for a holiday. Oil maintained losses.

Even as US stocks ended the week on a high note fears of interest-rate hikes that pushed markets into a correction persist. US stocks ended their worst week in two years with the S&P 500 tumbling 5.2 per cent. The Cboe Volatility Index ended almost three times higher than its level on Jan 26. Ten-year Treasury yields finished the week at 2.85 per cent, near where they started and after pushing as high as 2.88 per cent.

Traders will be awaiting US consumer-price data out on Wednesday with some trepidation. Pressure on equities has been emanating from the Treasury market, where yields spiked to a four-year high amid concern the Federal Reserve may accelerate its rate-hike schedule.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un used his sister to invite South Korea’s president for talks in Pyongyang as the Winter Olympic Games got underway, a move seen as an attempt at thawing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The won was the best-performing currency in Asia.

Here are some important things to watch out for this week

US President Donald Trump will deliver his 2019 budget blueprint. The US consumer-price index, due Wednesday, probably increased at a moderate pace in January, economists project. Retail sales in the US, also out Wednesday, probably increased for a fifth straight month.

Japan is expected to extend the longest stretch of economic growth since the mid-1990s when it reports fourth-quarter gross domestic product on Wednesday. Other key economic news out in Asia this week include: India CPI on Monday; Singapore and Malaysia GDP on Wednesday; Australia unemployment, Indonesia rate decision and India trade balance all on Thursday.

Australian central bank Governor Philip Lowe testifies to a parliamentary committee in Sydney on Friday. Chinese New Year celebrations for the Year of the Dog begin in China and follow across much of Asia, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Chinese mainland markets are closed Feb 15-21.

Earnings season continues in full swing with reports from Bunge, TripAdvisor, SunPower, Con Edison, Bombardier, Heineken, Loews, Michelin, PepsiCo, MetLife,Cisco, Japan Post Bank, Credit Suisse, Nestle, Airbus, Allianz, Telstra, Coca-Cola, Deere, Eni, Credit Agricole and Campbell Soup.

These are the main moves in markets — stocks

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.5 per cent. The Shanghai Composite Index added 0.3 per cent. The S&P/ASX 200 Index declined 0.6 per cent. South Korea’s Kospi index gained 0.9 per cent.

Futures on the S&P 500 advanced 0.5 perc ent as of 11.01am in Tokyo. The underlying gauge climbed 1.5 per cent Friday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index excluding Japan gained 0.7 per cent. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 6.5 per cent last week.


The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.2 per cent. The yen advanced 0.1 per cent to 108.68 per dollar. The won jumped 0.8 per cent to 1,083.40 per US dollar. The euro added 0.2 per cent to US$1.2278. The British pound was at US$1.3835 after sinking 0.6 per cent Friday to the weakest in more than three weeks.


The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose two basis points to 2.85 per cent; the securities won’t be traded in the Asian day as Japan has a holiday. Australia’s 10-year bond yield climbed three basis points to 2.89 per cent.


West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.8 per cent to US$59.69 (RM235.91) a barrel. It slumped 9.6 per cent last week. Gold was up 0.4 per cent at US$1,322.50 an ounce. — Bloomberg