In Asian Equity Markets Japan’s Nikkei index edged up on Monday to brush an 11-day high as the yen remained on the defensive, although a wait-and-see mood ahead of this week’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting curbed the market’s advance. The Nikkei was up 0.2 percent at 19,641.56 points after touching 19,656.48, its highest since March 2. The broader Topix added 0.2 percent to 1,577.07 points and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 was also 0.2 percent higher, at 14,114.25. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan rose 0.6 percent, led by gains in tech-heavy South Korean stocks and Taiwanese stocks. At the close in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.32 percent.
In Currency Markets the euro firmed to one-month highs against the dollar in Asian trading on Monday, after some European Central Bank policymakers raised the possibility of hiking interest rates before bond purchases end. The euro was up 0.2 percent at $1.0699 after rising as high as $1.0701, its highest level since Feb. 9. The dollar edged down 0.2 percent against its Japanese counterpart to 114.66 yen, below Friday’s high of 115.50 yen, which was the highest since Jan. 19. Sterling added 0.2 percent to $1.2189, moving away from last week’s eight-week lows. The single currency was last up 0.1 percent at 87.83 pence after rising as high as 87.86 pence, its loftiest peak since Jan. 17.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell to their lowest in three months on Monday despite OPEC efforts to curb crude output, dragged down as U.S. drillers kept adding rigs. Brent crude had fallen 0.68 percent, to its lowest since Nov. 30 at $51.02 per barrel. It closed the previous session down 1.6 percent at $51.37. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude declined 0.87 percent, to its weakest since late November at $48.07 a barrel. Spot gold had climbed 0.2 percent to $1,206.53 per ounce and silver rose 0.1 percent to $17.06 an ounce. Platinum advanced 0.3 percent to $944.60 an ounce. It fell to its lowest since Jan. 4 in the previous session at $928.50. Palladium was up 0.7 percent at $749 an ounce.
In US Equity Markets stocks rose on Friday after a solid jobs report pointed to strength in the domestic economy and supported expectations the Fed will raise interest rates next week. The S&P 500 gained 0.33 percent, to 2,372.6 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.39 percent, to 5,861.73. Shares of U.S. hospital operators fell a day after the Republican plan backed by Trump to overhaul Obamacare cleared its first hurdles in Congress. While passage of the bill remains uncertain, some analysts believe the bill will go through. Tenet Healthcare shares fell 5.3 percent. Finisar Corp shares fell 22.7 percent after the network equipment maker gave disappointing revenue and profit forecasts for the current quarter.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields fell on Friday, with benchmark yields receding from 12-week highs after data on domestic hiring last month came in stronger than consensus forecasts but fell short of the most optimistic views. In choppy trading, benchmark 10-year Treasury yields were last at 2.578 percent, down 2.0 basis points from late on Thursday. The two-year yield, which is most sensitive to traders’ views on Fed policy, was down nearly 1 basis point at 1.364 percent.