Major Indices Bounce From Crucial Supports, Not All of Them Though

 

SP500 is doing what it always does – V shape reversal and a rapid bounce from the major support (in this case, long-term up trendline).

Dow Jones is in a similar situation; surge after contact with an uptrend line sorts out the situation.

Nasdaq on the other hand is having some issues, here the price broke the uptrend line, so the buy signal is no longer here.

DAX with a sweet-looking hammer on the daily chart yesterday. We’re still inside of the wedge, with a bright outlook for tomorrow

Nikkei with a similar situation to Nasdaq – the major uptrend line got broken. What’s more, we broke the lower line of the triangle and the support on the 28300, which is negative

Brent Oil bounces from the lower line of the channel up formation

The USDCAD is on a key long-term horizontal support. A bounce here wouldn’t be a surprise

The AUDCHF breaks the lower line of the symmetric triangle pattern, that’s bearish

The GBPJPY currently creates the right shoulder of the H&S pattern. Here a breakout of the neckline would a mid-term sell signal

Asia-Pacific Shares Fall on US Inflation Spike; Japan’s Nikkei Average Hits Four-Month Low

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes tumbled on Thursday as Wall Street shares fell sharply with inflation data stoking fears of a rate hike by the Federal Reserve.

In Japan, the Nikkei slumped to a 4-month low as an inflation scare hit expensive shares. South Korean shares also fell for a third straight day on U.S. inflation fears. Stocks in China and Hong Kong fell on soft bank lending, Sino-U.S. tensions. In Australia, shares closed lower for a third session as miners, tech stocks took a dive.

Cash Market Performance

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 27448.01, down 699.50 or -2.49%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 27825.78, down 405.26 or -1.44% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3122.11, down 39.55 or 1.25%.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3429.54, down 33.22 or -0.96% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6982.70, down 62.20 or -0.88%.

US Stocks Fall Sharply

U.S. stocks slumped on Wednesday as key inflation data showed higher-than-expected price pressures.

The U.S. Labor Department reported that the prices American consumers pay for goods and services accelerated at their fastest pace since 2008 last month with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) spiking 4.2% from a year ago. The Dow fell 1.99%. The S&P 500 Index lost 2.1% and the NASDAQ Composite slid 2.6%.

Nikkei Slumps to 4-Month Low as Inflation Scare Hits Expensive Shares

Japanese shares sank on Thursday, with the Nikkei average hitting a four-month low, as SoftBank Group and expensive stocks were pummeled by a U.S. inflation scare. Over the past three sessions, the index has lost 7.01%, its biggest three-day fall since the market turmoil in March 2020.

SoftBank Group dropped 7.8% as concern over its frothy portfolio valuations eclipsed the fact that it has announced a record profit for a Japanese firm. Other richly valued shares, mainly from the tech and healthcare sectors, fell sharply.

South Korea Stocks Fall for Third Straight Day on U.S. Inflation Fears

South Korean shares closed lower for a third straight session on Thursday, as a shocking rise in U.S. inflation and concerns that the Federal Reserve’s tightening may come earlier than expected dented sentiment.

Technology giant Samsung Electronics slid 1.88% even after the company said it would invest 171 trillion won ($151.10 billion) in non-memory chips through 2030, raising its previous investment target of 133 trillion won announced in 2019.

China, Hong Kong Stocks Fall on Soft Bank Lending, Sino-US Tensions

China and Hong Kong stocks fell on Thursday, after the former’s latest bank lending data missed forecasts, and as Sino-U.S. tensions weighed.

Chinese banks extended 1.47 trillion Yuan ($227.74 billion) in new Yuan loans in April, down from March and missing analysts’ expectations. Analysts polled by Reuters had predicted new Yuan loans would drop to 1.6 trillion yuan in April, down from 2.73 trillion Yuan in the previous month and 1.7 trillion Yuan a year earlier.

Australia Shares Close Lower for Third Session as Miners, Tech Stocks Dive

Australian shares fell for a third session on Thursday, with miners and tech stocks leading losses, as accelerating inflation in the United States stoked concerns over sooner-than-expected rate hikes.

Sentiment was further soured after China missed forecasts for quarterly gross domestic (GDP) and March industrial output, worrying investors in Australia about its top trade partner’s economic recovery.

Tech stocks were the biggest percentage losers on the benchmark, ending 4.7% lower, tracking a tech sell-off in U.S. peers.

Local miners also dragged the index, ending nearly 1.9% lower as iron ore prices fell more than 7% after a five-session rally.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Is Cash King, And Are You Aware Of Tesla, Apple, and Bitcoin Chart Patterns?

Sometimes there are clear advantages to being in an all-cash position and avoiding the risks in the US/Global stock markets. For example, you should consider cash as a position when the markets begin to execute a broad market consolidation pattern that often results in many weeks or months of sideways, choppy price activity. It would be best if you also considered going to cash when a more significant shift in market trends occurs, putting your account at real risk should there be a 20% to 30%+ downside price correction. Moving your assets away from these risks and into cash as early as possible can save thousands of dollars in unwanted – and worse yet avoidable – losses and stress.

I know how everyone always says, “it is better to ride out the trends and buy into the dips in the long run.” Well, I believe there is a better way to approach these more prominent market trends. It does not include riding out the massive sell-offs and panicking out near the lows—watching your wealth melt away as the market’s collapse, which can last in some cases like in the Nasdaq over 16 years to reach new highs.

We believe the purpose of actively managing your investments/trades should include a “cash position” as an active instrument in your portfolio. Why? Because moving your money away from risks and into a cash position can often create a major advantage for all types of investors. We will get into more detail about this later.

First, we want to highlight the setup of the broad market cycle/trend and bring to your attention the unique similarities in certain symbols unfolding right now.

Understanding Broad Market Cycles

You may have seen a version of the following Stock Market Cycles graphic before. Yet surprisingly, many traders/investors forget to reference these broader market cycles when they focus on the short-term market trends. Often, traders get caught up in the excitement of the rally phase and forget to anticipate the peak, rollover, and breakdown phase that eventually comes into play.

The rally phase we’ve seen recently in the US stock market, certain global markets, cryptos, and commodities may have just completed the Belief, Thrill, and Euphoria rally phase – reaching what we’ve been calling an “Excess Phase Peak.” If our research is correct, we should expect to see a series of price patterns continue to play out over the next 2 to 6+ months that complete the Complacency, Anxiety, and Denial downward phases. There was a recent research report entitled “How to spot the end of an excess phase” back in November 2020, which touched on this concept as well.

The research report shared this understanding of the breakdown setup and the 5 phases that typically process through the Euphoria, Complacency, Anxiety, and Denial phases. And in our Excess Phase Peak example below, where we look at the NASDAQ’s 2008 peak, we have labeled these phases as follows:

1. The rally to the peak – Euphoria

2. The initial breakdown and sideways FLAG in price – the Complacency Peak

3. The breakdown to critical support – Anxiety Phase

4. The extended sideways trending before the eventual breakdown of critical support – transition into the Denial Phase

5. An finally, the ultimate bottom sets up eventually – Denial & Panic Phases

The Benefits Of Developing CASH As A Viable Trading Position

Take a look at the following example accounts that compare between staying invested in varying trends vs. rolling in and out of the market throughout broad market trends. In this example, the “Always-In” keeps the initial $100k investment fully allocated throughout bullish and bearish trends. The “Trading-Trends” rolls capital in and out of the market trends (giving up 20% of each trend before altering allocation levels) and continues to reinvest the full capital into new bullish trends. The difference is staggering – almost 50% more in total returns than the “Always-In” strategy.

Concluding Thoughts:

As markets start to churn and start a new phase, you will undoubtedly hear from different advisors and financial gurus about how you should best manage your assets.

In our opinion, any form of more active position management is better than leaving your decisions up to another individual or chance. Suppose you can dedicate a few minutes a week to watch the markets or find a good trading mentor service to help you make sense of what’s happening in the markets and when to buy and sell. In that case, you can learn to outperform the S&P consistently with only a few trades each year trading ETFs, which is what I like to do myself.

I will highlight three very important charts on Tesla (TLSA), Apple (AAPL), and Bitcoin (BTC) that very clearly show we may be transitioning into the Complacency and Anxiety phases. These Phases 2 & 3 are the Excess Phase Peak transition and are something every trader and investor should be focusing on, in my opinion.

If this pattern continues to play out as we expect, traders and investors could be nearing a major decision-making time regarding how to protect profit and wealth, what to do next, and how to find out what the right answers are to these questions.

Over the next 6+ months and beyond, there are going to be incredible market moves. Staying ahead of these index and sector trends is going to be key to developing continued success. As some sectors fail, others will begin to trend higher, and this is the type of research and work I share each week at Technical Traders Ltd.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Chris Vermeulen

Chief Market Strategist

www.TheTechnicalTraders.com

 

Inflation Anxiety Jolts Stocks, Asia Tumbles to Two-Month Lows

By Swati Pandey

Futures pointed to a gloomy start for European and U.S. shares with those of Eurostoxx 50, Germany’s Dax and London’s FTSE all down 0.2% each.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 stumbled 0.4% while futures for the tech-heavy Nasdaq were down 0.6%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slumped 1.5% to the lowest since March 26, adding to Tuesday’s 1.6% loss with all major indices under heavy selling pressure.

Analysts said a combination of inflation fears and some investors cutting their exposure to over-stretched stocks or sectors was behind the recent downturn.

At 678 points, the regional index is not too far from a record high of 745.89 touched in February and is still up 3% this year so far, on top of a 19% jump in 2020 and a near 16% rise in 2019.

Australian stocks slipped 0.9% while South Korea’s KOSPI index skidded 1.4%. Japan’s Nikkei reversed early gains to be down 1.5%. China’s blue-chip share index was little changed.

Taiwan’s benchmark index plunged 6% from all-time highs to levels seen in February on fears it may raise its COVID-19 alert level in coming days, which would lead to closure of shops dealing in non-essential items as infections rise.

Analysts, however, doubted the broader equities sell-off would extend much further in a world of easy accommodative policy and fiscal largesse.

“Despite the severity of the moves, we sensed limited panic in our client conversations with many using (the) weakness as an opportunity to buy the dip, particularly in the value orientated areas e.g. banks, energy and insurance,” JPMorgan analysts wrote in a note.

Overnight on Wall Street, technology stocks were among the biggest losers though the tech-focused Nasdaq reversed the bulk of its early 2% decline over the course of the day. The Dow dropped 1.4% and the S&P 500 fell 0.9%.

The equity rout barely helped drive any safe haven flows into the greenback even as futures pointed to yet another negative open for Wall Street.

“What is unusual about the last two days is that the equity-market angst did not provide the U.S. dollar with a notable lift,” said Alvin T. Tan, head of Asia FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

Tan said there was no sign of “risk-off” among regional currencies either with the high-carry Indian rupees and Indonesia rupiah largely holding their ground.

“Still, it is not yet obvious if this signifies a new market paradigm. As they say, one swallow does not make a summer,” Tan added.

All eyes are now on the U.S. consumer price index report to be released by the U.S. Labor Department on Wednesday with market-based measures of inflation expectations having moved higher.

“Prices are definitely on the increase and this is evident across a wide range of sectors and geographies. What is less clear is the longevity of the increase in prices,” ANZ analysts wrote in a note.

Treasury yields have remained stuck to a tight range. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasuries drifted lower to 1.6217%, a far cry from the 2% level seen in before the coronavirus pandemic. [US/]

The U.S. Federal Reserve expects higher inflation though officials have pointed to transient factors and base effects for the temporary rise.

“The upshot is the Fed remains far away from achieving its aim of average inflation of 2% per year. The Fed’s ultra-accommodative monetary policy is part of the reason why we consider the USD downtrend is intact,” said Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Carol Kong.

The dollar was up 0.2% against the Japanese yen at 108.84 as it meandered in a narrow 107-110 band.

The dollar index, which measures the greenback against six major currencies, was a shade higher at 90.335, after touching a two-month low of 89.979. [USD/]

The currencies of major natural resource suppliers such as Canada have been buoyant amid rising commodity prices.

The loonie held near a 3-1/2-year high of C$1.2078.

The Australian dollar, another proxy for commodity prices, was not far from a 10-week high of $0.7891 struck on Monday. The Aussie, which is also played as a liquid proxy for risk, did falter in afternoon Asian trading to $0.7790.

Oil prices were higher with U.S. crude rising 13 cents at $65.41 a barrel. Brent crude slipped 10 cents to $68.65 per barrel. [O/R]

Spot gold was off slightly at $1,829 an ounce.

In cryptocurrencies, ether hit a fresh record high touched on Monday to be at $4,349.44. The value of the second-biggest digital token has surged over 5.5 times so far this year.

(Reporting by Swati Pandey in Sydney; Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Kim Coghill)

World Shares Resilient, Drugmakers Hit by Biden’s Move on Vaccines

By Hideyuki Sano

MSCI’s broadest gauge of world stocks, ACWI, was up slightly and European stocks are expected to open flat with both Euro Stoxx futures and Britain’s FTSE futures little changed.

Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1.8% as it reopened after a five-day holiday.

But MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan lost 0.15% as Chinese shares, also resuming trade for the first time since last week, wobbled. The CSI300 fell 1.3%, led by falls in biotech firms.

China’s healthcare share index dropped more than 4% after U.S. President Joe Biden threw his support behind waiving intellectual property rights for COVID-19 vaccines.

Biden’s move hit U.S. vaccine makers, too, including Moderna, but Wall Street was supported overall by gains in energy and other cyclical shares.

Dow hit a record high overnight, having risen 0.29%, while the S&P 500 added 0.07%.

“This year, both the U.S. and Chinese economy could grow 6% or more. If the world’s two biggest economies are growing that much, clearly that’s positive,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist, Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.

Against this backdrop, commodity prices are riding high, with copper flirting with 10-year peaks.

Oil prices extended gains to edge near their March tops as crude stockpiles in the United States, the world’s largest oil consumer, fell more sharply than expected.

U.S. crude futures stood at $65.65 per barrel, little changed on the day but just below Wednesday’s two-month high of $66.76. [O/R]

As agricultural products such as corn, soybeans and wheat, have gained sharply in recent weeks, Thomson Reuters CRB index has risen to its highest level since 2015, having gained more than 21% so far this year.

BONDS AND CURRENCIES

Higher commodity prices are fuelling inflation expectations in the bond market.

The U.S. breakeven inflation rate, or inflation expectations calculated from the yield gap between inflation-linked bonds and conventional bonds, rose to as high as 2.48% overnight.

But the U.S. nominal bond yields held relatively stable, with the 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield little changed at 1.584%.

“Bonds were supported partly because the pace of vaccinations has slowed in the States and as real-money investors are starting to buy,” said Naokazu Koshimizu, economist at Nomura Securities.

“The rise in inflation is also driven more by supply constraints than demand, which is why we are seeing rising inflation expectations and a fall in nominal yields,” he added.

In currencies, the Australian dollar briefly dropped as much as 0.6% after China said it was indefinitely suspending all activity under a China-Australia Strategic Economic Dialogue, the latest setback for their strained relations.

It last stood down 0.15% at $0.7734

The British pound was flat at $1.3910 ahead of a central bank policy review.

The Bank of England could slow the pace of its bond buying to allow its quantitative easing programme to last until the end of the year, as it could reach the cap by September at the current pace of buying.

Investors also looked to Scotland’s election that could trigger a showdown with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson over a new independence referendum.

Other currencies were little moved, with the focus on Friday’s U.S. monthly jobs report which is expected to show that nonfarm payrolls increased by 978,000 jobs last month.

The euro stood flat at $1.2004 while the yen changed hands at 109.35 per dollar.

(Editing by Himani Sarkar and Kim Coghill)

Wall Street Losses Expected to Drag Asia-Pacific Shares Lower on Opening

Asia-Pacific shares are expected to open lower on Wednesday with traders taking their cues from a steep plunge in mega-cap growth shares on Wall Street. Investors dumped the higher risk tech shares for protection in more defensive parts of the market.

All 11 major S&P 500 sectors were down, with technology communication services and consumer discretionary falling more than 2% each. Meanwhile, the defensive consumer staples, utilities and real estate sectors fell the least.

Tuesday Recap

Stocks in the Asia-Pacific region were mixed on Tuesday with major markets in Japan and China still closed for bank holidays.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index settled 0.70% higher. South Korea’s KOSPI Index was up 0.64% and China’s Shanghai Index finished down 0.81%. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index closed up 0.56%.

Investors Eyeing COVID-19 Outbreak in India

Investors continued to monitor the COVID-19 situation in India as it shows little signs of slowing down. The World Health Organization said last week that one in every three new coronavirus cases globally is being reported in India.

Reserve Bank of Australia Holds Policy Steady

The Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) left its key rates at near zero for a fifth straight meeting on Tuesday and pledged to keep policy supper loose for a prolonged period even as the economy recovers at a rapid pace from the COVID-19-led downturn.

The RBA reiterated its commitment to keep the cash rate at the record-low of 0.1% for as long as is needed to pull down unemployment and push inflation higher.

The RBA’s as-expected decision comes as it painted a rosy picture of the A$2 trillion ($1.55 trillion) economy, and upgraded the growth forecast to 4.75% over 2021, from its February forecast of 3.5%.

Australia Shares Rise as Central Bank Upgrades Growth Forecast

Australian shares closed higher on Tuesday as the central bank raised its economic growth forecast and kept interest rates on hold, with commodity-related stocks leading the way on the benchmark index.

Gold and mining stocks led the gains on strong metals prices, while tech stocks lost ground. The metals and mining index climbed 2.3%. Big miners BHP Group and Rio Tinto added 2.6% and 2.5%, respectively.

Energy Leads Hong Kong Stocks Higher on Pandemic Recovery Signs

Hong Kong shares settled higher on Tuesday, with energy stocks leading the gains on signs of recovery from the coronavirus pandemic as major economies around the world reopen.

The sub-index of the Hang Seng tracking energy shares rose 2.3%, while the IT sector edged up 0.05%, the financial sector climbed 0.78% and the property sector gained 0.52%.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Markets: Stocks Fall on China Manufacturing Miss, Financial Regulator Crackdowns

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished lower on Friday as weaker-than-expected Chinese factory indicators and concerns about Beijing’s clampdown on internet companies weighed on sentiment.

Friday’s session followed an overnight session on Wall Street where the major U.S. indexes finished higher. Economic activity stateside picked up in the first three months of 2021 as GDP rose 6.4% on an annualized basis, but it fell slightly short of expectations.

Cash Market Performance

On Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 28812.63, down 241.34 or -0.83%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28724.88, down 578.38 or -1.97% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3147.86, down 26.21 or -0.83%.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3446.86, down 28.04 or -0.81% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 7025.80, down 56.50 or -0.80%.

China’s Factory Activity Growth Slows on Supply Bottlenecks, Soft Demand

China’s factory activity growth slowed and missed forecasts in April as supply bottlenecks and rising costs weighed on production and overseas demand lost momentum.

The country’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) fell to 51.1 in April from 51.9 in March, data from the national Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed on Friday.

China Crackdown

China’s financial regulator ordered 13 internet platforms to strengthen compliance as part of the country’s ongoing antitrust clampdown on the sector, worrying investors within and outside the country.

Reuters reported that China is preparing to hit Tencent Holding Ltd. with a fine of at least $1.54 billion as part of a larger antitrust crackdown on its major internet firms, according to a report in Reuters. That sum would be large enough to serve as a strong warning to the industry, but less than the record $2.75 billion penalty fine slapped on Alibaba earlier this month.

Foreigners Turn Net Sellers of Japanese Stocks on Pandemic Concerns

Foreign investors turned net sellers of Japanese equities in the week ended April 23 on concerns that Japan’s stricter curbs to contain the virus will tamper its economic growth, as the country saw a surge in domestic infections this month.

Overseas investors sold a net 296.24 billion yen ($2.72 billion) worth of stocks last week, marking their first net selling in three weeks, data from Japanese exchanges showed.

Japan declared “short and powerful” states of emergency in its biggest cities last week, as it struggled to contain a resurgent coronavirus pandemic.

Australia Shares End Lower, Mark Best Month in Five

Australian shares ended lower on Friday, with Beach Energy’s trading update weighing on sentiment, even as the index marked its best month in five.

Beach Energy Ltd led losses as it plunged 24% after slashing reserve estimates and earnings outlook following a review of declining output at its Western Flank field in South Australia.

Gold stocks tumbled 2.2% with the country’s biggest producer Newcrest Mining shedding up to 2.6% as bullion eased due to higher U.S. Treasury yields denting its appeal.

The energy subindex skidded 1.7%, hurt by Beach Energy and a fall in oil prices due to concerns over wider lockdowns in major oil consumers India and Brazil.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia Shares Extend Gains on Supportive Fed, Biden’s Stimulus

By Kane Wu

European and U.S. markets were set to open higher as well, with FTSE futures up 0.15%. E-mini futures for the S&P 500 index rose 0.53% and Nasdaq futures advanced 0.87%.

Biden proposed the sweeping new $1.8 trillion plan in a speech to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, pleading with Republican lawmakers to work with him on divisive issues and to meet the stiff competition posed by China.

He also made an impassioned plea to raise taxes on corporations and rich Americans to help pay for what he called the “American Families Plan” in his maiden speech to Congress. He has also proposed nearly doubling the tax on investment income, which knocked stock markets last week.

Stephen Dover, Franklin Templeton’s chief market strategist in California, said the effect of the tax package on markets is hard to measure for now.

“If it passes, I think it will have an impact on individual stocks that will pay a higher rate of tax or companies with founders that will pay capital gains and could sell stocks,” he said. “I think investors are going to think about whether they want take their gains now and that creates the possibility of short-term volatility now.”

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan built on early gains and was up 0.46% by mid-afternoon.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged up 0.24%, as strong oil prices lifted energy stocks.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was 0.45% higher, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose half a percentage point. Seoul’s KOSPI was flat while Taiwan shares rose 0.17%.

Markets in Japan were closed for a holiday but Nikkei futures rose 0.35% to 29,055 points.

For the rest of the day, investors will focus on the first estimate of U.S. GDP for the first quarter, which is expected at 13:30 GMT.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that “it is not time yet” to begin discussing any change in policy after the U.S. central bank left interest rates and its bond-buying programme unchanged, despite taking a more optimistic view of the country’s economic recovery.

Excerpts of Biden’s speech released in advance by the White House “hit the high points – big infra(structure) spend, talking climate action and vaccines,” said John Milroy, investment adviser at Ord Minnett. “The Fed remains dovish, all very supportive.”

Tech shares got a boost after Apple Inc on Wednesday posted sales and profits ahead of Wall Street expectations, though it warned a global chip shortage could dent iPad and Mac sales by several billion dollars.

Wall Street ended lower on Wednesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.48% to end at 33,820.38 points, while the S&P 500 lost 0.08% to 4,183.18.

The dollar pared up early losses against the yen to 108.61 and the euro gained 0.07% to 1.2132 following the Fed’s decision to maintain supportive policies.

Oil prices extended gains on Thursday after rising 1% in the previous session as bullish forecasts for a demand recovery this summer offset concerns of rising COVID-19 cases in India, Japan and Brazil.

Brent crude for June rose 0.27% to $67.45 a barrel, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude for June was at $64.02 a barrel, up 0.25%.

Spot gold added 0.14% to $1,783.85 an ounce.

(Reporting by Kane Wu in Hong Kong; additional reporting by Andrew Galbraith in Shanghai and Scott Murdoch in Hong Kong; Editing by Jacqueline Wong and Kim Coghill)

Asia-Pacific Stocks Mostly Higher; Japan Retail Sales Higher than Forecast, Aussie CPI Misses Estimate

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes settled mixed but mostly higher on Wednesday as investors prepared for another day of major earnings reports from the United States and the U.S. Federal Reserve’s monetary policy statement and interest rate decisions. Economic data from Japan and Australia may have also influenced the price action.

Cash Market Update

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29053.97, up 62.08 or +0.21%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 3181.47, down 33.95 or -1.06% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 29071.34, up 129.80 or +0.45%.

In China, the benchmark Shanghai Index settled at 3457.07, up 14.46 or +0.42% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 7064.70, up 30.90 or +0.44%.

Investors Show Limited Reaction to US News

In the U.S. after the closing bell on Tuesday, Google-parent Alphabet reported better-than-expected earnings, sending shares up more than 4%. Microsoft shares dipped about 3% even after the company topped analyst estimates. Starbucks raised its full-year outlook.

The Fed is expected to leave policy unchanged when it releases its monetary policy statement at 18:00 GMT. After the announcement, Fed Chair Jerome Powell is expected to reaffirm his commitment to keeping monetary policy accommodative over a prolonged period of time, though signs of rising inflation expectations has raised some speculation that policy could be tightened sooner than thought.

Japan Shares Move Higher; Retail Sales Beat Estimates

Japanese shares rose on Wednesday, led by technology stocks, although gains were capped by concerns about corporate outlook, while investors awaited a decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve and President Joe Biden’s address to Congress.

Japanese retail sales rose at the fastest pace in five months in March as consumer demand recovered from the huge hit it took from the coronavirus pandemic last year.

The world’s third-largest economy has emerged from last year’s slump on an export recovery, though a glacial vaccine rollout and a resurgence in infections are threatening household’s spending appetite.

Retail sales jumped 5.2% in March from a year earlier, government data showed on Wednesday, a larger gain than the median market forecast for a 4.7% rise. That marked the fastest rise since a 6.4% advance in October and the first positive growth in four months.

Energy Stocks Push Australia Shares Higher; CPI Falls Short of Estimates

Australian shares edged higher on Wednesday as energy stocks rose tracking an uptick in oil prices, though losses in gold and technology capped gains.

Among sectors, energy stocks rose 0.7%, tracking gains in oil prices. Technology stocks fell 0.6% and Gold stocks dropped 3.7%.

In a potentially bullish development, surprisingly soft inflation data argued for super loose policy for years to come from the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA).

Australian consumer prices rose just 0.6% in the first quarter, when analysts were looking for a 0.9% increase. Even more startling was a slowdown in a key trimmed mean measure of inflation to a record low of 1.1%, well below the RBA’s target band of 2-3%.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia – Pacific Shares Weaken Ahead of US Tech Earnings; BOJ Lowers Inflation Expectations

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes are trading lower on Tuesday despite a bullish session on Wall Street overnight. The S&P 500 and NASDAQ Composite closed at record highs on Monday, fueled by heavyweight growth stocks ahead of a deluge of earnings reports this week.

Overseas traders expressed caution ahead of a U.S. Federal Reserve meeting and a slew of corporate earnings which offset growing optimism about the global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cash Market Performance

In the cash market, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index was trading 29077.39, down 48.84 or -0.17% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index is at 3206.14, down 11.39 or -0.35%

In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index settled at 28910.50, down 42.33 or -0.15%. In China, the Shanghai Index finished at 2422.52, down 18.65 or -0.54% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index is trading 7022.70, down 22.90 or -0.33%.

Japanese Shares Fall as Investors Look Past Upbeat Corporate Outlook

Japanese shares inched lower on Tuesday as investors looked past upbeat corporate outlook amid worries about the government’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, while chip-related stocks took cues from a positive finish overnight on the NASDAQ.

Japan imposed a third state of emergency on Tokyo and other big cities, but local media have reported many parts of Tokyo are still crowded as people aren’t complying with the order.

Chip-related shares gained, aided by a strong finish for the NASDAQ overnight. Tokyo Electron inched up 0.29%, TDK gained 1.45% and Kyocera rose 0.95%.

“Shares in companies, which reported positive earnings, are not rising. That means investors’ expectations for corporate outlook are too high,” said Takatoshi Itoshima, strategist at Pictet Asset Management.

BOJ Trims Inflation Forecast, Signals Prolonged Easing as COVID Pain Persists

Japan’s central bank maintained its massive stimulus on Tuesday and projected inflation missing its 2% target for years to come, as fresh curbs to combat a spike in COVID-19 cases overshadow the boost to growth from solid global demand, Reuters reported.

As widely expected, the BOJ maintained its short-term interest rate target at -0.1% and that for 10-year bond yields around 0%.

Australia Shares Fall as Banks, Tech Stocks Weigh

Australian shares fell on Tuesday, with losses in technology and financial stocks outweighing gains in the mining sector as iron ore prices and gold prices firmed.

Financial stocks fell 0.44%, led by Zip Co Ltd, down 2.22%, and AMP Ltd, losing 1.75%. Technology stocks fell 0.12%, led by Appen Ltd, down 0.97%, and Afterpay Ltd, losing 0.47%.

South Korea Stocks Slip on Foreign Selloff; Earnings from US Tech Giants, Fed Eyed

South Korean shares slipped on Tuesday despite an upbeat first-quarter GDP data, as foreign investors reduced their positions ahead of earnings from U.S. tech giants and the Federal Reserve policy meeting later this week.

In other news, South Korea’s economic growth beat expectations in the first quarter, extending the country’s export-led recovery as global demand surged and the government maintained support for ailing small businesses.

Finally, foreigners were net sellers of 192.1 billion won ($172.79 million) worth of shares on the main board.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares Mostly Higher; Japanese Stocks Fall on COVID-Related Lockdown Fears

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished mixed on Friday but mostly lower with the Nikkei the lone loser. Investors continued to monitor the coronavirus situation in India as cases continued to climb, with more than 332,000 new daily infections registered on Friday, while showing little reaction to a plunge in U.S. shares on Thursday.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29020.63, down 167.54, down 0.57%. South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 3186.10, up 8.58 or +0.27% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index closed at 29078.75, up 323.41 or +1.12%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3474.17, up 9.05 or +0.26% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 7060.70, up 5.30 or +0.08%.

Asia-Pacific Investors Shrug-off US Tax Fears

Asia-Pacific stocks rose despite a steep overnight drop on Wall Street. The losses stateside came after reports from multiple outlets, including Bloomberg News and The New York Times, that U.S. President Joe Biden is seeking an increase in the tax on capital gains to 39.6% from 20% for Americans earning more than $1 million.

Investors probably felt U.S. tax news would have little impact on Asian companies. Additionally, it’s all talk now and could take months before the plan even reaches the U.S. Senate for a final vote. At that time, it will probably look a lot different than the initial proposal.

Japanese Shares Fall on Pandemic Concerns, Nidec Outlook

Japanese shares closed lower on Friday, as stricter government curbs to contain COVID-19 infections raised economic recovery concerns, while a disappointing forecast from Nidec added to the cautious mood at the start of the corporate earnings season.

Japan, which is struggling to contain a resurgence of coronavirus infections, plans to declare “short and powerful” states of emergency for Tokyo and other big cities from April 25 to May 11.

Nidec, a maker of precision motors used in computer hard drives and smartphones, tumbled 5.12% after its annual forecast for the current business year missed analysts’ consensus.

China Stocks Rise, Aided by Green Stocks, Healthcare Plays

China stocks rose on Friday as President Xi Jinping’s renewed green pledge bolstered clean energy stocks while a flare-up of coronavirus cases in some Asian countries helped support healthcare shares.

An index tracking China’s environment protection stocks rose over 1% after Chinese President Xi reiterated his pledge to make China carbon neutral by 2060. China will start phasing down coal use form 2026, Xi said at a summit of global leaders on Thursday.

Meanwhile, China’s healthcare stocks registered robust gains amid reports of rising COVID-19 cases in India and Japan.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares Post Steep Losses as Covid Concerns Weigh on Sentiment

The major Asia Pacific stock indexes were mostly lower on Wednesday as worries over a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in some countries cast doubt on the strength of global growth, weighing on the economic outlook and investor sentiment. Investors followed Wall Street’s lead amid a more than 250 point drop in the Dow as reopening stocks declined.

Traders were especially concerned about rising coronavirus cases in India. The COVID-19 situation in the country remains severe, with 259,170 new daily infections registered on Tuesday. This follows a warning from the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday that global Covid infection rates are approaching their highest level ever.

Cash Market Performance

In the cash market on Wednesday, Japan’s Nikkei settled at 28508.55, down 591.83 or -2.03%. Hong Kong Hang Seng Index finished at 28644.73, down 491.00 or -1.69% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3171.66, down 49.04 or -1.52%.

China’s Shanghai Index is at 3473.76, up 0.82 or +0.02% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index settled at 6997.40, down 20.40 or -0.29%.

Global Airlines Under Pressure on Reopening Concerns

Reopening plays like airlines fell in Wednesday’s trade, with shares of Qantas Airways in Australia dropping 1.7% while Japan Airlines and ANA Holdings in Japan declined 0.14% and 1.45%, respectively. In Hong Kong, shares of China Eastern Airlines fell 2.2% and Cathay Pacific slipped 1.97%.

Australian Shares Drop 1% as Travel Stocks Weigh, Rebound on Stronger Retail Sales

Australian stocks fell a percent on Wednesday, extending losses into a second straight session, as travel stocks dropped after a new COVID-19 case in New Zealand sparked worries of a pause in the trans-Tasman quarantine-free travel.

A new case of the novel coronavirus detected at Auckland airport comes just a day after the country opened a travel bubble with Australia. That pulled down ASX-listed travel stocks.

The Energy Index also fell 2.1%, led by Beach Energy, down 2.8% and Ampol, losing 1.3%. Oil prices dropped from their one-month highs on fears that world’s third-biggest oil importer India may impose new restrictions.

Aussie shares rebounded from their 1% loss late in the session after a report showed Australia’s retail sales rose 1.4% in March from February, according to preliminary data released Wednesday by the country’s Bureau of Statistics. That was higher than expectations in a Reuters poll for a 1% gain.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asian Stocks Hit One-Month Highs, Bitcoin Climbs

By Swati Pandey

Indicators were positive for Europe as well with futures for Eurostoxx 50 up 0.2% and Germany’s DAX adding 0.1% though those for London’s FTSE were barely changed.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan went as high as 699.70, a level not seen since March 18. It was last up 0.1% at 696.46.

The index jumped 1.2% last week and is up 5.1% so far this year, on track for its third straight yearly gain.

“The extremely supportive monetary and fiscal policy setting continues to provide a fertile environment for risk assets,” said Rodrigo Catril, senior forex strategist at National Australia Bank.

Australian shares finished unchanged from Friday’s close while New Zealand’s benchmark index gained 0.6% and South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.1%. Japan’s Nikkei turned around its losses to end flat.

Chinese shares, which started in negative territory, recouped losses with the blue-chip index up 2.2%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rose 0.6%.

On Friday, the S&P 500 gained 0.4% to close at a new record high while clocking its sixth straight weekly gain. The Dow finished 0.5%, also at a record high while the Nasdaq climbed 0.1%.

The gains are unlikely to extend further with e-mini futures for the S&P 500 down 0.2%.

This week is off to a quiet start with no major data releases slated on Monday.

Investors will keep their eyes peeled for earnings from IBM and Coca-Cola later in the day. Netflix reports on Tuesday while later in the week American Airlines and Southwest will be the first major post-COVID cyclicals to post results.

The European Central Bank (ECB) meets on Thursday with no changes to rates or guidance expected while preliminary data on factory activity around the globe for April is due on Friday.

Elsewhere, Bitcoin, the world’s biggest cryptocurrency, reversed its losses after plunging as much as 14% on Sunday following speculation the U.S. Treasury may be looking at cracking down on money-laundering activity within digital assets, NAB’s Catril said.

Data website CoinMarketCap cited a blackout in China’s Xinjiang region, which reportedly powers a lot of bitcoin mining, for the selloff.

The retreat in Bitcoin also comes after Turkey’s central bank banned the use of cryptocurrencies for purchases on Friday.

Bitcoin was last up 1%. It has risen more than 90% year to date, driven by its mainstream acceptance as an investment and a means of payment, accompanied by the rush of retail cash into stocks, exchange-traded funds and other risky assets.

In currencies, the U.S. dollar loitered near a four-week low against a basket of currencies as investors increasingly bought into the Federal Reserve’s insistence it would keep an accommodative policy stance for a while longer.

The dollar index measuring the greenback against a basket of six currencies was unchanged at 91.567, not far from its lowest since March 18 touched on Friday.

Against the Japanese yen, the greenback was off 0.2% at 108.52. The euro was a tad lower at $1.1964 while the British pound gained 0.2% to $1.3854. [FRX/]

The risk-sensitive Aussie dollar climbed to $0.7740.

In commodities, oil prices were down with the Brent slipping 22 cents to $66.55 a barrel and U.S. crude falling 19 cents to $62.94.

Gold was up a tad at $1,776.7 an ounce.

(Editing by Michael Perry and Sam Holmes)

Asia-Pacific Stocks: Underpinned by Upbeat US data; China’s First Quarter GDP Slightly Misses Estimates

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes finished higher on Friday with a series of economic reports from China the catalysts underpinning the markets.

Investors paid the most attention to China’s gross domestic product which surged in the first three months of the year from a year ago. Additionally, retail sales jumped in March, beating expectations, however industrial production missed expectations.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29683.37, up 40.68 or +0.14%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index finished at 28969.71, up 176.57 or +0.61% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closing at 3198.62, up 4.29 or +0.13%.

China’s Shanghai Index settled at 3426.62, up 27.63 or +0.81% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 7063.50, up 4.90 or +0.07%.

China Says Its Economy Grew 18.3% in the First Quarter, Slightly Missing Expectations

China reported first-quarter gross domestic product a touch below expectations as industrial production disappointed but retail sales beat.

GDP soared 18.3% in the first three months of the year from a year ago, China’s National Bureau of Statistics said Friday. That’s slightly below expectations of a 19% increase, according to analysts polled by Reuters.

China also said retail sales rose 34.2% in March, topping expectations of 28% growth. Industrial production rose 14.1% in March, missing Reuters prediction of 17.2% growth. Investment in manufacturing fell 2% on an annualized basis over the last two years, which the statistics bureau spokesperson on Friday attributed to persistent business difficulties and lack of investment confidence. Finally, the unemployment rate dipped to 5.3% from 5.4%.

Japanese Shares End Higher on Chip Stocks Boost; Corporate Outlook Worries Cap Gains

Japanese shares closed slightly higher on Friday as heavyweight chip shares rallied, although concerns around corporate outlook capped the gains.

Chip-related shares gained after Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Ltd (TSMC), reported a 19.4% rise in first-quarter profit on strong chip demand.

Australia Shares End Higher as China, U.S. Data Spur Recovery Bets

Australian shares closed near 14-month highs on Friday as upbeat economic data from the United States and record first-quarter economic growth in the country’s largest trading partner China supported hopes of a global economic recovery.

Global stocks neared record highs after U.S. retail sales, jobs and Chinese economic growth data cemented expectations of a solid global recovery from the coronavirus-induced slump.

The Australian tech sub-index added 0.5%, tracking an overnight rally on the NASDAQ. Altium gained 3.2%, while EMI Payments firmed 2%.

Gold stocks shined as they jumped 2.9% on the back of lower yields and a weaker dollar. Newcrest, the country’s biggest gold miner, rose as much as 4.7%.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Volatile Wall Street Tech Trade Expected to Drag Asia-Pacific Shares Lower on Opening

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes are expected to open lower on Thursday, following Wall Street’s lead. The benchmark S&P 500 Index fell from its record high in a volatile trade on Wednesday amid a sharp drop in technology shares. The tech-weighted NASDAQ Composite posted a dramatic technical reversal top and the blue chip Dow was higher.

Ahead of the Asia-Pacific opening, key global stock indexes scaled new peaks on Wednesday after upbeat U.S. and European earnings pointed to a strong recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, while the dollar dipped to three-week lows as Treasury yields eased off recent highs.

Wednesday’s Recap

Shares in China led gains in the Asia-Pacific region during Wednesday’s trade as Chinese tech stocks listed in the city jumped. Shares of Chinese tech firms listed in Hong Kong saw a rebound on Wednesday after 12 companies, including Baidu, JD.com and Meituan, signaled compliance with antitrust laws.

That development came just a day after Beijing gave so-called platform companies a month to examine their actions and rectify any anti-competitive practices. Shares of most Chinese tech giants in Hong Kong tumbled on Tuesday amid those regulatory fears.

Australia Shares Hit 13-Month High on Gold, Tech Boost

Australian shares climbed to a 13-month peak on Wednesday, led by gains in gold stocks and technology firms.

Australia’s gold subindex posted its biggest jump since January 4 as bullion prices, a traditional hedge against inflation, rebounded from a more than one-week low. Newcrest, the country’s largest gold miner, added 4.2%.

Resolute Mining soared more than 20%, its biggest surge in more than a year, as a lease for its Bibiani gold mine in Ghana was restored after being terminated last month.

Technology stocks also surged 2.1% on the back of the U.S. consumer price data, tracking overnight gains on the NASDAQ.

Buy now, pay later bellwether and index heavyweight Afterpay jumped as much as 3.6% to its highest gains on the NASDAQ.

Japanese Shares End Lower as Virus Resurgence Hits Risk Appetite

Japanese shares ended lower on Wednesday, weighed down by cyclicals, as a resurgence in COVID-19 cases cast doubts over prospects of economic rebound, while falling interest rates dragged on banking and insurer stocks.

“The expectations for the reopening of the economy shrank because rollouts of vaccines in Japan is much slower than other countries, while the number of new COVID-19 cases is on the rise,” said Shoichi Arisawa, general manager of the investment research department at IwaiCosmo Securities.

“The interest rates could fall if the economy slows down. That has sent bank and insurer shares lower on Wednesday.”

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares Tentatively Higher as investors Weigh Potential Impact of US CPI, Earnings Data

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes settled lower on Tuesday with shares in China bucking the trend. With little guidance from Wall Street, investors paid close attention to U.S. Government bond yields which could be tested later today by what should be strong readings for U.S. inflation. Later in the week, investors will be guided by U.S. earnings and retail sales. The major worry is whether U.S. earnings justify the current sky-high valuations.

Cash Market Performance

In the cash market on Tuesday, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index settled at 29751.61, up 212.88 or +0.72%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is trading 28550.22, up 96.94 or +0.34% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index finished at 3169.08, up 33.49 or +1.07%.

China’s Shanghai Index is trading 3394.10, down 18.85 or -0.55% and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index closed at 6976.90, up 2.90 or +0.04%.

China’s Exports Missed Forecast in March, while Imports Rose More than Expected

China on Tuesday reported March exports data that missed analyst forecasts while imports for the month rose more than expected.

Chinese exports last month jumped 30.6% from a year ago in U.S. Dollar terms, lagging the 35.5% increase that analysts polled by Reuters had expected. Meanwhile, the country’s imports in U.S. Dollar terms rose 38.1% in March from a year ago, exceeding the 23.3% increase those analysts had forecast.

The stronger-than-expected rise in imports led China’s trade surplus to shrink to $13.8 billion in March, much narrower than the Reuters poll’s forecast of $52.05 billion.

Nikkei Gains as Glass Firms, Department Stores Shine on Upbeat Earnings

Japanese shares rose on Tuesday, led by gains in stocks of glass product companies and department store operators after their robust earnings, though concerns about rising domestic COVID-19 cases undermined travel-related shares.

AGC rose 2.9%, briefly hitting a 10-year high, after the glass product maker revised up its earnings outlook and dividend forecasts. The results also bumped up rival Nippon Sheet Glass 6.8%.

Takashimaya gained 4.3% after the department store chain operator announced a larger-than-expected profit in the current financial year after a dismal year hit by the pandemic.

“Today’s moves were mostly reactions to individual earnings. Overall, the market does not have a clear sense of direction at the moment, as investors looked to whether the Fed will start communication about tapering its stimulus,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, senior strategist at Mizuho Securities.

South Korean Stocks Rise on Tech Boost, Foreign Buying

South Korean shares rose on Tuesday, boosted by tech heavyweights and buying by foreigners, although some investors were cautious ahead of U.S. corporate earnings and inflation data.

Foreigners were net buyers of 182.8 billion won ($162.37 million) worth of shares on the main board.

In other news, the Bank of Korea is widely expected to keep interest rates at all-time lows on Thursday, as signs of a solid economic recovery are offset by concerns over a recent spike in domestic COVID-19 cases and a slow rollout of vaccines.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Most Asia-Pacific Stock Markets Finish Lower as China PPI Rises More than Expected

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes settled mostly lower on Friday despite a strong performance by U.S. stocks. The selling pressure was fueled as official data released Friday showed Chinese consumer and producer inflation rising in March as compared with a year ago.

Mainland Chinese stocks closed lower on the news, while shares in Hong Kong declined despite a surge in shares of Tencent-backed financial technology firm Linklogis. Stocks in Japan bucked the overall downward trend, while South Korean and Australian benchmarks retreated.

In the cash market on Friday, Japan’s Nikkei Index settled at 29768.06, up 59.08 or +0.20%. Hong Kong’s Hang Send Index finished at 28698.80, down 309.27 or -1.07% and South Korea’s KOSPI Index closed at 3131.88, down 11.38 or -0.36%.

In China, the Shanghai Index settled at 3450.68, down 31.88 or -0.92% and in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 Index finished at 6995.20, down 3.60 or -0.05%.

China’s March Factory Prices Grow at Fastest Pace Since July 2018

China’s factory gate prices rose at their fastest annual pace since July 2018 in March, official data showed on Friday, as growth in the world’s second-largest economy continued to gather momentum.

China’s producer price index (PPI) rose 4.4% in annual terms, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a statement. This compared with a medium forecast for a 3.5% rise in a Reuters poll of analysts and a 1.7% rise in February.

The inflation data is the latest indicator to point to robust economic growth in the January-March quarter. Data the previous week showed China’s manufacturing activity expanded at the quickest pace in three months in March as factories ramped up production to keep up with improving global demand.

In other news, China’s consumer price index (CPI) rose 0.4% from a year earlier in March, the statistics bureau said in a separate statement, compared with a median forecast for a 0.3% rise in a Reuters poll and a 0.2% decline in February.

South Korea Stocks Fall on Surging COVID-19 Cases, Weak US Data

South Korean shares ended lower on Friday, snapping a six-day winning streak, as worries over a surge in local coronavirus infections and downbeat U.S. labor data dampened investor sentiment.

A U.S. jobless claims report showed a second straight weekly increase on Thursday, conflicting with earlier payrolls and job vacancies data that had buoyed investor confidence of a quick economic rebound.

Further weighing on sentiment was South Korea’s 671 new coronavirus cases, following 700 a day earlier in its highest daily tally since early January, as it fanned fears over a potential fourth wave of outbreaks.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares: Steady-to-Better is Early Call as Investors Digest Fed Minutes

Asia-Pacific shares are expected to rise slightly on the opening on Thursday, reflecting the price action in the U.S. market.

On Wall Street, the S&P 500 and the Dow closed modestly higher and Treasury yields reversed slightly losses after the Federal Reserve, in minutes of its latest meeting, said that the economic recovery remains far from complete despite showing signs of progress. The tech-weighted NASDAQ ended the session nominally lower, and economically sensitive small caps and transports dipped into the close.

European stocks inched lower, closing below record highs, while optimism over speedy inoculations and the soft British Pound powered the UK’s exporter-laden FTSE’s 0.9% advance.

Ahead of the Asia-Pacific opening, investors are digesting the Fed minutes, released at 18:00 GMT. The minutes from the Fed’s most recent monetary policy meeting, in which the participants expressed caution about ongoing risks of the pandemic and reiterated the Fed’s commitment to an accommodative stance until the rebound was more secure.

Wednesday Recap

The major Asia-Pacific markets traded mostly higher on Wednesday but shares on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong lost ground.

China Shares Dip as Distillers Lead Consumer Slump

China’s main equity gauges fell on Wednesday with consumer firms dragging the market lower, as investors continued to worry that strong economic data could lead to possible policy tightening.

Analysts say that strong economic data could prompt authorities to tighten policy, putting pressure on equity valuations. “We can’t rule out the possibility that policymakers may move as early as late this year to tighten monetary policy, potential triggering knock-on effects in both the real economy and financial markets,” Christina Zhu, economist at Moody’s Analytics said in a note.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Falls as Tech Firms Dip

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index fell on Wednesday in its first trading session after an extended holiday as tech heavyweights and financials dragged it lower.

Index heavyweight Tencent dropped 3.75% and was the biggest drag on the Hang Seng for the day. It fall pushed the TECH Index down 1.37% and the IT sector down 2.4%.

Shares of Lenovo Group also dragged on the TECH Index, falling 4.07% for a third consecutive session of declines after the PC maker settled a multi-year patent fight with Finland’s Nokia.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Asia-Pacific Shares Called Mixed, Mirroring Wall Street’s Performance

The major Asia-Pacific stock indexes are expected to open Tuesday’s session mixed due to the volatile, choppy trade on Wall Street. Stocks in the Asia-Pacific posed a similar move at the start of the week. The turmoil in the markets is coming from the financial services sector in reaction to sales of holdings by Archegos Capital Management.

Overnight shares of Japanese financial services company Nomura plunged 16.33% after the firm flagged a potential $2 billion loss at a U.S. subsidiary.

“Nomura is currently evaluating the extent of the possible loss and the impact it could have on its consolidated financial results,’ the company said in a news release. The firm on Monday also canceled a bond issuance that had been priced earlier in March.

Credit Suisse shares tumbled 13% as the bank warned it would face a “significant” hit to its first-quarter results due to the bank having to exit hedge fund positions related to the forced selling.

Bank stocks weighed on the Dow industrials, with Morgan Stanley dropping 2.6% JPMorgan Chase off 1.6%.

Though the market was taking a hit from the Archegos stumble, the situation is unlikely to have lasting impacts on the broader market, according to Bespoke Investment Group.

“While other funds may be caught in the mess, we fail to see how this specific car crash of a trade ends up propagating across the financial system via counterparty default,” Bespoke said in its morning note. However, the firm did caution that investors should “get used to the GMEs and Archegos of the world, because they seem to be happening with more frequency even if their fall-out is contained.

Alibaba-backed Bilibili Slumps in Hong Kong Trading Debut

Bilibili Inc, which is backed by Alibaba Group, tumbled as much as 6.8% in its Hong Kong stock debut on Monday as analysts said a U.S. regulatory crackdown on listed foreign firms hit enthusiasm for the Chinese online video site.

It was the worst start in the city in six months by a major stock listing. Bilibili debuted down 2.2%, was sold off to as low as HK$753 and headed into the afternoon trading session down 2.7%. It raised HK$20.2 billion ($2.6 billion) after pricing shares at HK$808 each last week, Reuters reported.

The debut is the worst by a major deal in Hong Kong since Yum China Holdings Inc shares lost 6.3% at the open in September after it raised $2 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

For a look at all of today’s economic events, check out our economic calendar.

Nomura Shares Slump About 17% as it Warns of $2 Billion Loss

Nomura Holdings warned that it possibly occurred a loss of nearly $2 billion at one of its U.S. subsidiaries, sending its shares down about 17% to a 7-week low on Monday.

Nomura is currently evaluating the extent of the possible loss and the impact it could have on its consolidated financial results. The estimated amount of the claim against the client is approximately $2 billion based on market prices as of March 26,” Japan’s biggest securities firm said in the release.

“As of the end of December 2020, Nomura maintained a consolidated Common Equity Tier 1 ratio of over 17 percent, which is substantially higher than the minimum regulatory requirement. Accordingly, there will be no issues related to the operations or financial soundness of Nomura Holdings or its US subsidiary,” it added.

Following this, Nomura shares, which fell over 3% in 2020, plunged about 17% to JPY600.8 on Monday in Tokyo.

Analyst Comments

“The news is negative in the short term. Assuming $2bn as its losses in the March quarter, we estimate most of its 2H FY3/21 PBT will be wiped out, which could affect its DPS and the other capital return program at the FY-end. But $2bn is a 7-8% hit to its capital (without giving any tax benefit). As long as these losses are one-off in nature, 1H FY3/22 should be the timing of recovery, thus the impact on the longer-term outlook is relatively limited, in our opinion,” noted Hideyasu Ban, equity analyst at Jefferies.

Nomura Stock Price Forecast

Morgan Stanley gave the base target price of JPY670 with a high of JPY800 under a bull scenario and JPY380 under the worst-case scenario. The firm gave an “Equal-weight” rating on the largest domestic brokerage’s stock.

“In the short term, the stock is likely to outperform Daiwa thanks to ongoing structural reform effects both in the Retail and Wholesale businesses, and due to rising market expectations that share buybacks will be announced in 4Q,” noted Mia Nagasaka, equity analyst at Morgan Stanley.

“For us to become bullish, Nomura Holdings would need to make private areas, as well as public areas, profitable over the medium term, thereby increasing the visibility of the company heading towards generating mid-double-digit ROEs in a stable manner.”