- Asian Stocks Mixed on Low Volume; Yen Fluctuates
Stocks in Asia were mixed amid low trading volume and the yen held to a narrow range as investors weighed the latest comments from Federal Reserve officials on interest rates and the economy.
South Korea’s Kospi index reversed an early gain, heading for the first decline in seven sessions, while Chinese shares traded in Hong Kong advanced. The rand erased a rally after South African President Jacob Zuma survived a bid by some members of the African National Congress’s top leadership to order his removal from office. Markets are closed in the U.S., the U.K. and China. North Korea fired another missile, which appears to be a Scud variant.
A six-week surge in global equities pushed stocks to a record high as investors bet global economic growth can withstand higher U.S. interest rates as soon as next month. While stocks have recovered from worries surrounding the prospects for President Donald Trump’s reform policies, 10-year Treasuries are on course for a fourth monthly advance amid concern inflation is lagging expectations.
Disagreement on the strength of the U.S. comes as the first hints of China’s economic performance in May suggest that a slowdown in growth is taking hold as policy makers beef up efforts to clamp down on financial risks.
“The U.S. economy is about as close to the Fed’s dual mandate goals as we’ve ever been,” Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President John Williams said in Singapore on Monday. “With the attainment of our dual mandate goals close at hand, it’s more important than ever for monetary policy to work toward what I like to call a ‘Goldilocks economy’ -– an economy that doesn’t run too hot or too cold.”
Williams doesn’t vote on monetary policy this year, but he worked closely with Fed Chair Janet Yellen when she led the San Francisco Fed and he was its director of research, and is seen as an influential voice at the central bank.