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Asia

Asia markets to focus on Wall Street's record close as investors digest Fed minutes

Wall Street closed at record levels following the latest minutes from the Federal Reserve while the dollar sagged against the euro ahead of Asia’s Thursday trading day.

Minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting showed that one more interest rate increase in the U.S. this year was “likely to be warranted” given that the economic outlook remained “unchanged” in the medium term, a summary showed. Policymakers, however, remained concerned about inflation.

On Wall Street, stocks closed higher as investors digested those minutes. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.18 percent, or 42.21 points, to end at a record 22,872.89. Other major indexes also closed at record levels: The S&P 500 tacked on 0.18 percent to finish the session at 2,555.24 and the Nasdaq rose 0.25 percent to close at 6,603.55.

The dollar, however, sank to a 14-day low as investors took note of Fed members’ concern over the inflation outlook stateside. The dollar index, which measures the U.S. currency against a basket of rivals, stood at 93.015 at 6:56 a.m. HK/SIN — off a high of 93.369 seen on Wednesday.

That was also in part due to the firmer euro in the overnight session after the Spanish government asked for greater clarity from Catalan authorities over whether or not the region had declared independence. The common currency traded at $1.1861 at 7:05 a.m. HK/SIN, which was its highest levels in more than two weeks.

In Asia, futures implied further gains at the open for Japanese equities after the benchmark Nikkei 225 finished the Wednesday session at its highest levels since 1996. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were up 0.47 percent at 20,980 and Osaka futures were 0.28 percent higher at 20,940.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 slipped 0.04 percent in early trade as a fall in major mining stocks offset gains seen in other sectors.

Ahead, bank stocks could be in focus during Asian trade after the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday identified several banks that could “struggle” with profitability in the years ahead, the Wall Street Journal said. Those names included Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Mizuho Financial Group, Standard Chartered and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group.

On the energy front, oil gained for a third consecutive session on Wednesday. Brent crude advanced 0.6 percent to settle at $56.94 a barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.8 percent to settle at $51.30.

The economic calendar for Thursday is fairly busy, but few of the day’s data points are likely move markets significantly (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 8:30 a.m.: Australia August housing finance
  • 12:00 p.m.: Malaysia August industrial output
  • 1:00 p.m.: Singapore August retail sales
  • 4:00 p.m.: China September vehicle sales
  • 8:00 p.m.: India September CPI and industrial production

Source: cnbc china
Asia markets to focus on Wall Street's record close as investors digest Fed minutes

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