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Jan 9, 2017

Asian Markets at Close Report on January 9, 2016: AustralianBanks Shoot Hiher as Asian Stocks Post Gains

marketwatch.com
 
Ese Erheriene
Shares in Asia were broadly higher Monday, catching a further uplift from end-of-week gains in the U.S.

The advance also follows strength last week in the region, where the Hang Seng saw its biggest weekly gain in three months and the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, +0.54%   snapped a five-week losing streak.
As the Hong Kong index HSI, +0.25%   rose 0.1% in mid-day trading, the S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.90%   in Australia has been steadily rising throughout the session and was recently 0.9% higher at 5804, hitting its best levels since May 2015.
Financials are leading the way there, with Australia’s Big Four banks — Westpac Banking Corp. WBC, +1.49%  , Commonwealth Bank of Australia CBA, +1.34%  , National Australia Bank Ltd. NAB, +1.71%   and Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. ANZ, +1.24%   — up 1.0% to 1.3%. The quartet makes up about one-third of the weighting of the S&P/ASX 200.
Elsewhere, New Zealand’s NZX-50 NZ50GR, +0.60%   added 0.5% and Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.02%   was up fractionally. Japan’s equity market is closed for a national holiday.
“The lead that we have from the U.S. was all about the NFPs [nonfarm payrolls] and the focus was on the wage surprise,” said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG Group. “The S&P hit a new high, and that was a possible lead for Asia at the start of the week.”
On Friday, the U.S. Labor Department said nonfarm payrolls rose a seasonally adjusted 156,000 in December, slower than November’s gain. But the market focused on stronger-than-expected wage growth; December’s 2.9% increase from a year earlier was the highest annual gain since 2009.
The news on Friday took the Dow Jones Industrial Average to within one point of the big round number of 20000--a much anticipated threshhold--climbing to 19999.63 before retreating slightly.
In currencies, the U.S. dollar was broadly stronger against Asian currencies after some midweek weakness, indicating there’s little sign of a slowdown in the Trump-driven euphoria regarding the currency. The greenback was up 0.5% against the offshore yuan, with USD/CNH at 6.8799, building 05 and the USD/CNY at 6.9176, building on Friday’s rebound.
In the debt market, Asian government bond yields were mostly higher Monday after the positive U.S. economic data drove investors to sell U.S. Treasurys on Friday. The yield on South Korea’s benchmark 10-year government bond was last at 2.134% compared with 2.084% late Friday, and the yield on a similar bond in Australia was last at 2.755%. compared with 2.704% late Friday.
Still, analysts said Asian stock markets were still ramping back up to normal trading volumes after a spell of limp liquidity over the holidays.
Looking ahead, traders will be watching for producer- and consumer-price data from China on Tuesday.
More broadly, as President-elect Donald Trump’s Jan. 20 inauguration creeps closer, investors may start taking a more sceptical view on his policies.
“I think the market is expecting too much” from Mr. Trump, said Alex Furber, a sales trader at CMC Markets. “There is still a great deal of uncertainty, which markets seem to have largely ignored in this case. Things have overcooked.”
-- Kenan Machado and Rachel Rosenthal contributed to this article.