In Asian Equity Markets stocks erased early losses and edged higher on Wednesday as strong China trade data bolstered bets of a recovering global economy, though gains were capped by caution ahead of a widely expected U.S. interest rate hike next week. China’s imports in February grew 44.7 percent from a year earlier on a yuan-denominated basis. Exports rose 4.2 percent. That pushed the MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up by a quarter of a percent, putting it on track for a third consecutive day of gains. Hong Kong stocks rose 0.5 percent propped up by the services sector and extended inflows from the Chinese mainland. The Nikkei fell 0.5 percent to 19,254.03.
In Currency Markets the dollar was a touch lower on Wednesday, its modest advance from the previous day bogging down as investors started to take a wait-and-see attitude ahead of Friday’s U.S. jobs report. The euro rose 0.1 percent to $1.0561 after declining by about the same amount the previous day. The dollar was down 0.3 percent at 113.650 yen after rising modestly to 114.160 overnight. The Australian dollar rose 0.1 percent to $0.7593. The Aussie had spiked to $0.7633 the previous day after the RBA kept interest rates on hold and gave an upbeat assessment of the economy, hinting that it does not intend to loosen policy this year. The New Zealand dollar fell to a two-month low of $0.6962, hurt by a slide in the price of milk.
In Commodities Markets oil futures fell in Asian trade on Wednesday after industry data pointed to a potential ninth straight week of inventory builds, renewing concerns about an oversupply of oil despite output curbs by OPEC and non-OPEC members. Brent futures fell 0.5 percent, to $55.63 after settling down 0.2 percent in the previous session. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.6 percent, to $52.80 a barrel, after ending the previous session down 0.1 percent. Spot gold had edged up 0.1 percent to $1,216.5 per ounce. In other precious metals, silver was mostly unchanged at $17.48 per ounce. Platinum edged down 0.1 percent, to $958.99 per ounce. Palladium eased 0.2 percent to $770.23 per ounce.
In US Equity Markets stocks closed lower on Tuesday as weakness in drug and financial stocks sent the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average to their first consecutive sessions of declines in more than a month. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.14 percent, to 20,924.76, the S&P 500 lost 0.29 percent, to 2,368.39 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.26 percent, to 5,833.93. The S&P 500 healthcare index fell 0.7 percent while the NYSE Arca pharmaceutical index declined 0.9 percent, its worst performance since Jan. 24. Nimble Storage rose 46.3 percent after Hewlett Packard Co said it would buy the data storage provider for $1.09 billion in cash. HPE’s stock lost 1.1 percent.
In Bond Markets benchmark Japanese government bonds were steady on Wednesday, though the superlong zone continued to edge down as it took its cues from rising U.S. Treasury yields. The benchmark 10-year JGB yield was flat on the day at 0.065 percent, while 10-year JGB futures were up 0.02 point at 150.72 in afternoon trading. The yield on 20-year JGBs rose 0.5 basis point (bp) to 0.655 percent, and the 30-year JGB yield added 1.5 bps to 0.855 percent.