Asian session mixed as strong yen weighs on Japan’s stocks
Investors focus on U.S. consumer-price data due Wednesday
Stocks in Europe gained on the back of positive economic data from the region’s biggest economy, following a mixed session in Asia as Japan’s currency hurtled to a 15-month high. The dollar extended its decline while Treasuries steadied before a key U.S. inflation report.
The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed, led by media shares, after Japan’s Topix index earlier fell to a four-month low as the yen’s advance hurt the nation’s stocks. Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose as did shares in Hong Kong and Seoul. Stocks fluctuated in Shanghai before a week-long Lunar New Year holiday. Bunds gained as data showed Germany’s economic upswing extended into the fourth quarter, buttressing growth in the euro area as policy makers prepare to wind down monetary stimulus. Gold also rose, giving the moves the flavor of a shift to havens.
American consumer-price data due Wednesday could give some clues on where markets are heading, with investors assessing the outlook for inflation and what it means for the trajectory of U.S. monetary policy. New Chairman Jerome Powell suggested the Federal Reserve would forge ahead with gradual rate increases even as it keeps an eye on financial-system risks following the recent equity rout.
Elsewhere, WTI crude oil drifted to below $59 a barrel after its worst week in two years as fears over rising U.S. supplies curb investor optimism. South Africa’ rand gained as the nation waited for President Jacob Zuma to respond to his party’s call for him to resign.
Terminal users can read more in our markets blog.
Here are some important things to watch out for this week:
- Eurostat will update its estimate for fourth-quarter growth in the euro area at 11 a.m. in Luxembourg. It reported a 0.6 percent increase in GDP on Jan. 30.
- Lunar new year celebrations for the Year of the Dog begin, affecting China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Chinese mainland markets are closed Feb. 15-21.
- The U.S. core consumer-price index probably increased at an annual 1.7 percent pace in January, economists project. Retail sales in the U.S., also out Wednesday, probably increased for a fifth straight month.
- Earnings season continues in full swing with reports including companies from Bunge to Nestle.
These are the main moves in markets:
- The Stoxx Europe 600 Index increased 0.6 percent as of 8:06 a.m. London time.
- The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index climbed 0.6 percent.
- Germany’s DAX Index gained 0.8 percent.
- Futures on the S&P 500 Index rose 0.5 percent
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.3 percent as of 4:17 p.m. Tokyo time.
- Topix index fell 0.8 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 2.5 percent, Kospi index rose 1.1 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index decreased 0.2 percent to the lowest in more than a week.
- The euro increased 0.2 percent to $1.2382, the strongest in more than a week.
- The British pound rose 0.1 percent to $1.3901.
- The Japanese yen gained 0.4 percent to 107.39 per dollar, the strongest in 15 months.
- South Africa’s rand jumped 0.7 percent to 11.882 per dollar, the strongest in almost two weeks.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries fell less than one basis point to 2.83 percent.
- Germany’s 10-year yield fell two basis points to 0.73 percent.
- Britain’s 10-year yield declined two basis points to 1.618 percent.
- Japan’s 10-year yield decreased one basis point to 0.07 percent, the lowest in more than five weeks.
- West Texas Intermediate crude dipped 0.3 percent to $59.01 a barrel, the lowest in almost eight weeks.
- Gold climbed 0.2 percent to $1,332.86 an ounce, the highest in more than a week.
— With assistance by Tom Redmond