In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei index rose on Monday morning as comments from a U.S. central banker supported the dollar against the yen, bolstering exporter stocks, while rising U.S. yields helped financial stocks outperform. The Nikkei gained 0.8 percent to 18,811.62 in midmorning trade. The broader Topix gained 0.6 percent to 1,498.00 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 0.6 percent to 13,423.72. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell for a third consecutive session, heading back towards a three-week low tested on Friday. Hong Kong bucked the regional weakness, due to strength in property stocks and financial counters. Australian stocks were also stronger, up 0.6 percent at a near two-year high.
In Currency Markets the dollar started the week at three-week highs against a currency basket on Monday, after a key U.S. Federal Reserve official reinforced the central bank’s commitment to continue raising interest rates. The dollar added 0.3 percent to 111.40 yen. The euro edged down 0.1 percent to $1.0584 after earlier touching $1.0570, its lowest level since March 9. The Australian dollar fell 0.2 percent to $0.7482 after earlier plumbing $0.7474, a level last seen in January. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against six major rival currencies, added 0.1 percent to 101.230 after rising as high as 101.340, reaching its highest levels since March 15.
In Commodities Markets oil prices rose on Monday, supported by strong demand and uncertainty over the conflict in Syria, although another run-up in U.S. drilling activity kept a lid on gains. Brent crude futures were at $55.47 per barrel, up 0.42 percent, from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were up 0.49 percent, at $52.49 a barrel. Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,252.20 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures fell 0.2 percent to $1,254.30. Spot silver fell 0.2 percent to $17.92 an ounce, after hitting its best since Feb. 27 at $18.47 in the previous session. Platinum declined 0.5 percent to $947 an ounce, while palladium fell 0.7 percent to $796.10.
In US Equity Markets stocks edged lower on Friday in a choppy session as investors grappled with a weaker-than-expected job report, the U.S. airstrike in Syria and a top Federal Reserve official’s comments on trimming the U.S. central bank’s balance sheet. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 0.03 percent, at 20,656.1, the S&P 500 lost 0.08 percent, to 2,355.54 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.02 percent, to 5,877.81. U.S. employers added about 98,000 jobs in March, the fewest since last May and well below economists’ expectation of 180,000, as bad weather hit construction hiring. However, wage growth edged up and unemployment fell.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields rose on Friday, reversing a early decline sparked by weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs growth data, after a top Federal Reserve official boosted expectations for interest rate increases. Benchmark 10-year Treasury notes last yielded 2.380 percent, up nearly four basis points from late Thursday and well above 2.269 percent, their lowest since Nov. 18. U.S. 30-year yields hit a session high of 3.009 percent after hitting 2.939 percent, their lowest since mid-January, while five-year yields touched 1.921 percent after touching 1.784 percent, their lowest since Nov. 30, 2016.
- 09:10 GMT+1 US Fed Chair Yellen Speaks