Asia-Pacific Shares

Asia Stocks Mixed; Aussie Shares Up as RBA Minutes Confirm Further Easing

The major Asia-Pacific equity markets are trading mixed early Tuesday in a mostly lackluster trade as investors await the start of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s two-day policy meeting. The Fed is not expected to raise its benchmark interest rate at this meeting, but investors will be looking for clues about the timing of future rate hikes.

At 03:30 GMT, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is trading 21067.95, down 56.05 or -0.27%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is at 27417.67, up 190.51 or +0.70% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index is trading 2102.40, up 11.67 or +0.56%.

In Australia, the S&P 500/ASX 200 is trading 6559.60, up 28.70 or +0.44% and China’s Shanghai Index is at 2890.90, up 3.28 or +0.11%./

Aussie Shares Jump on Dovish RBA Minutes

Australian shares are moving higher on Tuesday after the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) said further easing was likely. However, investors are largely targeting defensive sectors ahead of the two-day Fed meeting.

In the minutes of its June 3 policy meeting, the RBA said it will likely have to cut rates further to boost the economy. The central bank cut its benchmark interest rate at this meeting, driving up equities on the prospect of earning better yields.

Wilbur Ross:  Trump ‘Perfectly Happy’ to Slap Further Tariffs on China

CNBC reported on Monday that President Donald Trump is ready to proceed with tariffs on the remaining $300 billion in Chinese goods in the absence of a trade deal, according to U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.

“We will eventually make a deal, but if we don’t the president is perfectly happy with continuing the tariff movements that we’ve already announced, as well as imposing the new ones that he has temporarily suspended,” Ross said.

Ross’ comments echoed those of Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week, indicating that the administration is unified on its plan in the event that talks fall apart.

“If China wants to move forward with the deal, we’re prepared to move forward on the terms we’ve done. If China doesn’t want to move forward, then President Trump is perfectly happy to move forward with tariffs to re-balance the relationship,” he said.

In early May, this news probably would’ve crushed the stock market, but with Fed Chair opening the door to new rate cuts and saying the central bank will do what it takes to sustain the economic expansion, equity traders showed little reaction to the potentially bearish statements.

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James Hyerczyk

James A. Hyerczyk has worked as a fundamental and technical financial market analyst since 1982. His technical work features the pattern, price and time analysis techniques of W.D. Gann.