Asian Stocks Extend Declines; Dollar Steady

Asian Stocks Extend Declines; Dollar Steady

Stocks in Asia pared gains as investors shrugged off Chinese economic data that showed a solid pace of growth last quarter. The dollar marked time after small gains earlier this week, and Treasury yields held above recent lows.

Equity benchmarks in Tokyo rose, though they came off the day’s highs, while they declined in most other Asian markets. The New Zealand dollar plunged as much as 1 percent ahead of a decision by the N.Z. First Party on which major party it will join to form a government. China reported its economy expanded 6.8 percent last quarter, with retail sales and industrial output accelerating in September. South Korea’s central bank raised its growth outlook. Japan’s exports climbed.

A benchmark for Asian stocks continues to flirt with a record high, though after a 4 percent advance already this month, some investors may want to take a pause. The S&P 500 Index hit another all-time high overnight. Oil is trading around $52 a barrel, and gold slipped.

China’s currency retreated even after data from the central bank suggested that the country is now seeing capital inflows. Yuan foreign-exchange positions on the People’s Bank of China’s balance sheet rose in September for the first time since October 2015. Spanish assets remain in focus with a Thursday deadline looming for Catalonia’s president to renounce his independence claims or have Madrid take control.

In the U.S., a solid earnings season is coinciding with higher chances of another Federal Reserve interest-rate increase by year-end. More than 80 percent of the 52 members of the S&P 500 Index that have already reported earnings for the most recent quarter beat analysts’ forecasts. Fed funds futures indicate a roughly 80 percent chance that U.S. policy makers will raise rates at their December meeting, up from 72 percent Friday. By then, President Donald Trump may have announced his choice for the next Fed chair, a decision that’s expected in the next two weeks.

Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

· Japan’s Topix index rose 0.2 percent as of 1:50 p.m. in Tokyo. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was flat, while South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.5 percent.

· Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down 0.1 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index slid 0.4 percent.

· S&P 500 Index futures were flat. The underlying gauge rose 0.1 percent on Wednesday, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.7 percent — the biggest gain in five weeks. IBM surged the most since 2009 after forecasting what could be the first annual sales gain in more than five years.

Currencies

· The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.

· The yen was steady at 112.94 per dollar.

· The kiwi fell 0.5 percent to 71.14 U.S. cents. It dropped as low as 70.82. The New Zealand Herald reported that Labour was the preference for New Zealand First.

· The Australian dollar rose as much as 0.3 percent after the surprisingly strong jobs figures, before losing the gains to trade at 78.53 U.S. cents.

· The euro was at $1.1803.

· Bitcoin fell as much as 8.4 percent on Wednesday as traders balked at news that the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission may initiate oversight of initial coin offerings. It ended the session down 1.3 percent.

Bonds

· The yield on 10-year Treasuries held at 2.34 percent after increasing 5 basis points in the previous session.

· Australia’s 10-year government bond yield added about 4 basis points to 2.76 percent.

Commodities

· West Texas Intermediate was steady at $52 a barrel.

· Gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,278.23 an ounce.

Source: Bloomberg

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