- Asian Equities Decline While Aussie, Kiwi Advance
Asian equities declined as political uncertainty continued to infect markets across the globe. The Aussie erased losses after the country’s central bank left its key interest rate on hold while the kiwi rallied on inflation expectations.
Japan’s Topix index dropped for the first time in three days, after the yen touched the highest level since November on Monday. That comes after the S&P 500 Index retreated from near-record levels, with shares most tied to economic growth struggling after sagging wage gains and uneven retail results. The Australian and New Zealand currencies strengthened against the dollar, which advanced against most other major peers. Chinese equities slipped as investors awaited data on China’s foreign-currency reserves.
The Trump-fueled rally in equities is faltering as investors assess how the U.S. administration will balance protectionist trade rhetoric with promised tax cuts and spending increases. At the same time, traders are assigning greater risk premiums to European countries where anti-establishment movements are gaining traction ahead of elections. The Reserve Bank of Australia held interest rates unchanged as an upswing in global commodity prices eases the impact of slower economic growth.
Here are the main market moves:
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed as of 1:03 p.m. in Tokyo, after closing Monday at the highest level since July 2015.
- The Topix index fell 0.2 percent following a two-day gain. Toyota Motor Corp. dropped 2.3 percent after reporting a 39 percent decline in third-quarter operating profit.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.1 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index retreated 0.1 percent. New Zealand’s main benchmark was down 0.5 percent.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index and the Shanghai Composite Index were down more than 0.1 percent ahead of data on foreign reserves.
- Futures on the S&P 500 were little changed after the benchmark gauge slid 0.2 percent on Monday.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.2 percent, rising for a second day.
- The yen dropped 0.1 percent to 111.89 per dollar, after jumping 0.8 percent in the previous session.
- The Aussie rose 0.2 percent, erasing an earlier loss of 0.3 percent. The currency is up 6.5 percent this year.
- The New Zealand dollar advanced 0.6 percent, climbing for a fourth straight day, after inflation expectations jumped. Central bank governor Graeme Wheeler said he won’t seek a second term and will step down when his first ends in September.
- The euro dropped 0.4 percent to $1.0708 after sliding 0.3 percent on Monday.
- Oil climbed 0.3 percent to $53.17 a barrel, after falling 1.5 percent on Monday after Baker Hughes Inc. said U.S. drillers boosted rig count to the most since October 2015.
- Gold slipped 0.3 percent to $1,232.16 after advancing for three straight days to the highest level since November.
- Australian 10-year bonds rose, driving yields down six basis points to 2.70 percent, while similar-dated New Zealand debt saw yields drop eight basis points to 3.31 percent.
- Yields on 10-year Treasuries lost two basis points to 2.39 percent after the biggest drop in more than two weeks in the previous session. The yield difference between French and German 10-year bonds jumped to 72 basis points on Monday.