EghtesadOnline: Equities in Asia stalled as the global rally that pushed stocks to record highs prompted some investors to caution that gains had gone too far. The dollar fell against major peers as Treasury yields declined.
Indexes advanced in Tokyo and Sydney, while Hong Kong stocks fell, after U.S. benchmarks closed at all-time highs on Tuesday. The MSCI All-Country World Index rose to the highest ever. Apple Inc. suppliers in Asia dropped amid speculation traders were underwhelmed by the company’s new products. New York-traded oil maintained gains as OPEC and its allies discuss an extension of output curbs. The pound advanced to its strongest level since September 2016 after inflation jumped more than forecast and ahead of a central bank meeting, Bloomberg reported.
Record stock prices are provoking concern in some corners of the market. The number of investors seeking protection from a possible plunge has surged and Leon Cooperman, the billionaire founder of hedge fund Omega Advisors, says a correction could start “very soon.” A batch of Chinese economic indicators due Thursday, is expected to signal improving consumption and factory output along with some softening in investment, while U.S. prices data could impact the timing of the next Federal Reserve interest-rate hike.
Meanwhile, geopolitical concerns keep waxing and waning. North Korea said it will accelerate its plans to acquire a nuclear weapon that can strike the U.S. homeland in its first response to fresh United Nations sanctions. Earlier, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned the U.S. may impose additional sanctions on China -- potentially cutting off access to the U.S. financial system -- if it doesn’t follow through on the new UN restrictions.
Among the key events this week for markets:
- U.S. retail sales and inflation data due.
- The U.K. reports wage data Wednesday. The Bank of England will almost certainly leave policy unchanged Thursday.
- Also scheduled this week is data on China’s August industrial production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment.
- Australia releases jobs numbers on Thursday.
Here are the main moves in markets:
- The Topix index rose 0.7 percent of 12:54 p.m. Tokyo time. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.2 percent and the Kospi index in Seoul rose 0.2 percent.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell 0.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index was little changed.
- Among Apple suppliers, Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. and Pegatron Corp. in Taiwan, and AAC Technologies Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong declined. Apple slid along with some of its biggest suppliers on Tuesday.
- Contracts on the S&P 500 were down 0.1 percent. The underlying gauge climbed 0.3 percent on Tuesday in New York.
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.2 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1 percent after rising for the previous two days.
- The yen was slightly stronger at 110.09 after sliding 0.7 percent on Tuesday.
- The euro traded at $1.1981, little changed.
- The Australian dollar was little changed at 80.26 U.S. cents and the New Zealand dollar traded at 72.94 U.S. cents.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries was 2.16 percent, down one basis point after increasing four basis points on Tuesday.
- Australian 10-year bond yields rose about three basis points to 2.67 percent.
- West Texas Intermediate crude was little changed at $48.22 a barrel. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are discussingextending by more than three months the oil production cuts that expire in March 2018.
- Gold was steady at $1,331.10 an ounce.