Stocks Grind Higher on Low Volumes; Kiwi, Yen Fall
EghtesadOnline: Stocks in Asia edged higher as investors awaited a potential new catalyst for further moves -- the U.S. earnings season.
Japanese, South Korean and Australian markets rose with volumes more than one third below average. Chinese equities in Hong Kong advanced while mainland markets continued to buck the trend, falling for a second day. The kiwi slid after New Zealand spending data missed forecasts and the yen was also lower. The dollar was flat. Bonds stemmed a recent slump triggered by more hawkish rhetoric from central banks, Bloomberg reported.
With global equities remaining near all-time highs, scrutiny turns to corporate results. PepsiCo Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co. are reporting this week. Tim Moe, chief Asia-Pacific strategist at Goldman Sachs (Asia) LLC, told Bloomberg TV that his company expects U.S. earnings to be slightly above expectations. “We’re looking at about 9 percent annual earnings growth in the U.S.,” he said.
Bob Doll, senior portfolio manager and chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management LLC, said improving corporate earnings are the key ingredient to sustain the equity bull market. “With economic growth prospects looking solid, we think earnings can climb,” he said.
Investors will hear from U.S. policy maker Lael Brainard on Tuesday in a speech focused on normalization of central bank balance sheets, and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s semi-annual Monetary Policy Report to Congress is Wednesday. The Bank of Canada announces its interest-rate decision tomorrow, with a hike expected by most analysts.
These are the main moves in markets:
Currencies and bonds
- The yen was down 0.1 percent at 114.20 per dollar as of 12:27 p.m. in Tokyo, declining for a third day. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat for a third day.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 2.38 percent, while the yield on Australian government notes with a similar maturity also rose one basis point to 2.75 percent.
- The kiwi slid 0.5 percent to 72.42 U.S. cents.
- Japan’s Topix Index rose 0.4 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.1 percent and South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.3 percent.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 1.1 percent, heading for its first back-to-back gain in three weeks. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index rose 1.4 percent.
- Singapore’s Straits Times Index slipped 0.4 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index was down 0.2 percent.
- Futures on the S&P 500 were up 0.2 percent. The underlying gauge rose 0.1 percent Monday. FTSE 100 index futures were little changed after the benchmark for London-listed stocks climbed 0.3 percent Monday.
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose a second day, up 0.5 percent.
- WTI crude strengthened 0.4 percent to $44.56 a barrel amid talks of production capsfor Libya and Nigeria.
- Gold was down 0.2 percent at $1,212.36 an ounce. Silver slid 0.5 percent to $15.56 an ounce, approaching a 15-month low.