Asian shares on edge in choppy trading, dollar holds gains
Asian shares hovered just off six-week highs on Wednesday, as a more risk-averse mood spread into the market from the United States overnight due to worries about slowing growth that hurt equities while helping the dollar firm.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) fell 0.13% having posted gains, if sometimes small, for 11 of the last 12 sessions.
Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) reversed early losses and was last 0.42% higher after revised gross domestic product growth figures beat expectations for the world’s third-biggest economy. L4N2Q90R4
“The Asia Pacific region – following a zero-tolerance (coronavirus) pandemic policy and reliant on exports for growth – could underperform as global demand for goods softens and social distancing restrictions in many APAC cities are reimposed,” said David Chao, Global Market Strategist, Asia Pacific (ex-Japan) at Invesco
“This, coupled with the region’s much lower vaccination rate, could lead to a continued cycle of lockdown and releases.”
U.S. stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis , gained 0.10%.
U.S. shares had slipped, said analysts at ANZ in a note, on concerns that the U.S. economy may be starting to slow following “the weaker-than-expected jobs data on Friday evening after which markets were closed for a long weekend.”
In Europe, meanwhile, they said, “markets are focused on whether the European Central Bank will begin to scale back its bond purchase programme.”
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI) and S&P 500 (.SPX) fell 0.76% and 0.34% while the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) climbed 0.07% to another record close as investors switched out of cyclicals into blue-chip tech stocks.
Yields on 10-year Treasury notes dropped back in Asian hours and were last at 1.3570% compared to a U.S. close of 1.371% on Tuesday, after touching an eight-week high of 1.385% earlier in the day.
Higher yields had hurt non-interest-bearing gold overnight, but the spot price gained 0.18% on Wednesday to $1798.03 per ounce, edging back towards $1800 having fallen below the level in the previous session.
Bitcoin paused for breath after plunging 17% on Monday to a low of around $43,000 before recovering. It was last at $47,000, little changed in Asian hours.