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Business

Asia shares fall after Wall Street’s fall: Markets Wrap




(Bloomberg) — Equity benchmarks across Asia fell on Thursday with Hong Kong stocks leading losses in a broad risk-averse move across global markets.

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The Hang Seng index fell as much as 3.2%, while benchmarks in Japan and Australia fell more than 1%. A gauge representing Chinese firms in Hong Kong also fell.

U.S. stock futures fell, extending the S&P 500’s losses on Wednesday. Contracts for the region-wide Euro Stoxx 50 also retreated, reflecting the sour mood.

Chinese investors do not expect policymakers to unveil aggressive stimulus or major economic reforms at a key meeting expected later this month, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Traders have been hoping for more after a series of disappointing data, including the latest services industry release on Wednesday.

“Our starting point is a weak stimulus,”[ads1]; Bank of America Corp. strategists including Winnie Wu wrote in a note. “We believe that the government will need to send clearer signals to support the economy and the private sector, to help rebuild confidence.”

Investors also digested news that Chinese banks have stopped buying bonds issued in Shanghai’s free trade zone following increased regulatory scrutiny, in a development that hurts local government funding vehicles.

Australian and New Zealand 10-year government bond yields rose to 2023 highs after further gains from US counterparts on Wednesday.

Treasury yields rose two basis points to 3.95%, adding to Wednesday’s gains spurred by the last minutes of the Federal Reserve. The two-year interest rate rose to 4.96%.

The move was driven by Fed minutes showing divisions among policymakers over the decision to pause the central bank’s June meeting, with the voting members on course to take interest rates higher this month. Traders are also looking ahead to US jobs data over the next two days which will further shed light on the path for interest rates.

“It’s very difficult for the Fed to swing anytime soon,” Sue Trinh, co-head of global macro strategy for Manulife Investment Management, said on Bloomberg Television. Previous swings have occurred with core inflation around half of current levels, suggesting more tightening ahead, she said. “We are positioned somewhat more defensively in the shorter term.”

A series of US employment reports due on Thursday and Friday will be key. The so-called JOLTS report on vacancies is expected to show a reduction in vacancies, and a separate measure for unemployment claims is expected to tick higher, as a sign of cooling in the labor market.

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen lands in Beijing on Thursday to try to further mend relations between the world’s two largest economies.

Elsewhere in China, the central bank extended support to the yuan via a stronger daily benchmark, a day after its flagship newspaper published comments that the country has plenty of tools to stabilize the weakened currency. Other efforts to prop up the yuan included a decision among China’s biggest banks to cut interest rates on the country’s $453 billion in US dollar corporate deposits – the second cut in as many weeks.

In emerging markets, Malaysia’s central bank will make interest rate decisions after Sri Lanka cut short its second meeting. Movements in the major currencies were relatively muted, apart from the yen strengthening around 0.3% against the dollar. Traders are likely to keep a close eye on both the yen and yuan again, with no end in sight to the broad downward pressure on these currencies.

Oil rose to reinforce a rally on Wednesday. Gold rose while Bitcoin traded flat just above $30,000.

Important events this week:

  • US Initial Jobless Claims, Trade, ISM Services, Vacancies, Thursday

  • Dallas Fed President Lorie Logan speaks on a panel on policy challenges for central banks at the CEBRA meeting on Thursday

  • US unemployment, non-farm payrolls, Friday

  • The ECB’s Christine Lagarde is holding an event in France on Friday

Some of the main features of the markets today:

Stock

  • S&P 500 futures were down 0.4% at 2:53 p.m. Tokyo time. The S&P 500 fell 0.2 percent

  • Nasdaq 100 futures fell 0.5 percent. The Nasdaq 100 fell 0.03 percent

  • Japan’s Topix fell 1.2 percent

  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 1.3 percent

  • The Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell 3.1 percent

  • The Shanghai Composite fell 0.6 percent

  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures fell 0.6%

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed

  • The euro was little changed at $1.0844

  • The Japanese yen rose 0.6% to 143.75 per dollar

  • The offshore yuan was little changed at 7.2607 per dollar

Cryptocurrencies

  • Bitcoin rose 0.3% to $30,572.56

  • Ether rose 0.5% to $1,919.71

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year government bonds rose two basis points to 3.95%

  • Japan’s 10-year yield rose two basis points to 0.400%

  • Australia’s 10-year yield rose 12 basis points to 4.12%

Raw materials

  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.3% to $71.57 a barrel

  • Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,919.87 an ounce

This story was produced with assistance from Bloomberg Automation.

–With assistance from Isabelle Lee and Emily Graffeo.

(An earlier version of this story was corrected to remove references to Hong Kong-listed banks in the headline, first and second paragraphs)

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©2023 Bloomberg LP



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