EghtesadOnline: Stocks fluctuated in Asia and Treasuries edged higher amid a lack of fresh impetus as an easing of trade tensions paved the way for investors to turn to key U.S. inflation data due Wednesday. The dollar steadied as traders also weighed a possible U.S. military strike on Syria.
With little in the way of new catalysts, indexes from Tokyo to Sydney struggled for direction. Shares in China and Hong Kong had the biggest gains as People’s Bank of China Governor Yi Gang offered more details on pledges to open the economy. Japanese stocks fell and U.S. equity futures slipped after the S&P 500 closed higher. European equity futures declined. WTI crude drifted but held above $65 a barrel, and Brent futures slipped from their highest level in more than three years. The dollar was little changed after losses and Treasury yields ticked lower, according to Bloomberg.
“The market is very, very fickle,” said Stephen Innes, head of trading for Asia Pacific at Oanda Corp. in Singapore. There are “so many potential risk aversion embers waiting to ignite, it’s scary: Mueller, Syria, Iran for starters, but we still have no idea how this Kim-Trump affair will play out. It’s incredibly tough to hold a view in this market, and I think this is why we see constant gyrations on risk dynamics on a daily basis.”
Investor focus has returned to the global economy and the outlook for consumer prices. China’s factory inflation slowed for a fifth month while its consumer price index retreated from a four-year high. Later this week the U.S. earnings season gets underway with bank heavyweights from JPMorgan Chase & Co. to Citigroup Inc. reporting first-quarter profits. Volatility is retreating in equity and bond markets after a shaky start to the year that’s tested assumptions of synchronized global economic growth.
On the geopolitical front, attention remains on Syria. Heavy flights of coalition aircraft were witnessed near the border with Iraq, according to al Jazeera. Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump intensified preparations for a U.S. response to a suspected chemical weapons attack in the country, canceling a planned trip this weekend to South America.
Elsewhere, Facebook Inc. shares rose as chief Mark Zuckerberg testified on Capitol Hill.
Here’s what is coming up this week:
- U.S. CPI data and FOMC minutes due Wednesday.
- JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Citigroup Inc. report first-quarter earnings Friday.
These are the main moves in markets:
- Topix index fell 0.4 percent at the close in Tokyo.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.6 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.6 percent.
- Kospi index fell 0.4 percent.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.5 percent.
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index fell 0.5 percent.
- Contracts on the FTSE 100 Index declined 0.3 percent, while those on the Euro Stoxx 50 also lost 0.3 percent.
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell 0.1 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell less than 0.05 percent.
- The Japanese yen rose 0.1 percent to 107.07 per dollar.
- The euro rose 0.1 percent to $1.2364.
- The British pound climbed 0.1 percent to $1.4193.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell one basis point to 2.79 percent.
- Japan’s 10-year yield fell less than one basis point to 0.032 percent.
- Australia’s 10-year yield dipped three basis points to 2.68 percent.
- Germany’s 10-year bund yields were steady at 0.52 percent.
- West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.3 percent to $65.32 a barrel.
- Gold rose 0.4 percent to $1,344.42 an ounce.
- LME copper fell 0.5 percent to $6,908.50 per metric ton.