Asian markets mostly up after Wall St record, focus on US jobs

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange June 24, 2019. — Reuters pic
Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange June 24, 2019. — Reuters pic

HONG KONG, July 4 — Asian markets mostly rose today, tracking a record performance on Wall Street, as investors turned their focus to the upcoming release of US jobs data while hoping for a big Federal Reserve interest rate cut.

US traders went on a pre-July 4 spending spree yesterday to push all three main indexes to their all-time highs as a string of weak economic indicators reinforced the case for the Fed to reduce borrowing costs.

With the relief-rally from Donald Trump and Xi Jinping’s trade war ceasefire running its course, dealers were turning their attention to the global outlook and pinning their hopes on central bank support.

The release tomorrow of US non-farm payroll figures is key, analysts say, with a weak reading likely to reinforce expectations of a rate cut.

Talk of a reduction and concerns about the economy have seen the yield on safe haven 10-year Treasuries fall below two per cent

“A lot of US economic data is wavering, as most key indicators are falling below trend, but the recent standouts have been labour and wage data,” said OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya.

“If the pillars of the economy begin to show some signs of weakness, this will disrupt the US consumer and support the calls for the Fed to cut in July and signal an additional one is on the way.”

Dollar dips

Tokyo climbed 0.3 per cent and Sydney jumped 0.5 per cent, while Singapore was up 0.3 per cent.

Seoul rose 0.6 per cent, Taipei added 0.3 per cent, and Mumbai put on 0.2 per cent, with gains also in Jakarta, though Hong Kong, Shanghai, Manila and Bangkok retreated.

In early European trade London was barely moved, Paris gained 0.1 per cent and Frankfurt added 0.2 per cent.

Stephen Innes, at Vanguard Markets, said the fall in yields across several asset classes “has increased investor appetite for high dividend-yielding equity risk”.

Investors were “hoping that this next wave central bank monetary infusion will provide a foundation to ensure the global cyclical bottom is set while offering a welcoming climate to extend this bullish trading cycle,” he said.

The increasing likelihood of a Fed cut weighed on the dollar, with riskier currencies such as the South Korean won, Australian dollar and Indonesian rupiah all strengthening.

The Chinese yuan was also slightly higher.

However, Trump hit out at China yesterday in a Twitter rant, accusing it and Europe of artificially keeping the yuan and euro weak to gain an advantage over the US.

He said they were playing a “big currency manipulation game” and “pumping money into their system”, adding that the US should step up to the fight by matching them.

Oil prices fell more than one per cent, giving up Tuesday’s gains, with traders disappointed by the size of the drop in US stockpiles of the commodity, while worries over the global economic outlook weigh on demand expectations.

Key figures around 0810 GMT

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.3 per cent at 21,702.45 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.2 per cent at 28,795.77 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.3 per cent at 3,005.25 (close)

London – FTSE 100: FLAT at 7,611.05

Euro/dollar: UP at US$1.1282 from US$1.1280 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: UP at 107.82 yen from 107.81

Pound/dollar: UP at US$1.2580 from US$1.2576

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 61 cents at US$56.74 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 70 cents at US$63.12 per barrel

New York – Dow: UP 0.7 per cent at 26,966.00 (close)

— AFP

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