In Asian Equity Markets Japanese stocks edged down in choppy trade on Wednesday morning as geopolitical tensions soured investor sentiment, while regional banking stocks underperformed as Japanese government bond yields fell to five-month lows. The Nikkei 225 index lost 0.2 percent to 18,380.81 in midmorning trade, after briefly flirting in positive territory earlier. The MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan was down 0.6 percent to the lowest since mid-March. The Shanghai Composite Index extended its recent retreat with a decline of 1.4 percent. The Chinese market has fallen for four straight sessions on concerns over tighter regulations.
In Currency Markets the dollar index edged away from three-week lows on Wednesday, as a resurgent sterling gave back some of the gains it made after British Prime Minister Theresa May called an early general election ahead of Brexit negotiations. The dollar index edged up 0.1 percent to 99.633. Sterling gave up 0.2 percent on the day to $1.2823 after rising as high as $1.2908 on Tuesday, its highest since early October, as investors scurried to cover short positions. The dollar edged up 0.1 percent to 108.58 yen, while the euro edged down slightly to $1.0719 after riding sterling’s coat-tails to three-week highs overnight. The Australian dollar fell 0.4 percent to $0.7528, pressured by sterling’s rise as well as a slide in iron ore prices.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell on Wednesday as bloated U.S. supplies weighed on markets while a fall in Saudi crude exports was offset by rising production in the country. Brent crude futures were at $54.77 per barrel, down 12 cents from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 9 cents at $52.32 a barrel. Spot gold was down 0.2 percent to $1,286.40 per ounce. U.S. gold futures were down 0.4 percent at $1,288.80. Spot silver was down 0.2 percent to $18.21 per ounce. Platinum fell 0.1 percent to $972.45, while palladium was down 0.3 percent at $772. Palladium on Tuesday fell nearly 2 percent to a more than four-week low of $769.80.
In US Equity Markets the S&P 500 fell for the fourth time in five sessions on Tuesday, weighed down by a decrease in Goldman Sachs and Johnson & Johnson following their quarterly results, while geopolitical tensions added to investor caution. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.55 percent, to 20,523.28, the S&P 500 lost 0.29 percent, to 2,342.18 and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.12 percent, to 5,849.47. Goldman Sachs lost 4.7 percent, after hitting its lowest intraday level since Nov. 29. The bank posted earnings that missed expectations as trading revenue decreased. Johnson & Johnson lost 3.1 percent for its worst day in 14 months after quarterly revenue fell short of analysts’ expectations.
In Bond Markets Japanese government bond yields brushed a five-month low of zero percent on Tuesday, taking cues from an overnight rally in U.S. Treasuries. The benchmark 10-year JGB yield was down half a basis point at 0.005 percent after briefly falling to zero percent, its lowest since mid-November. U.S. Treasury yields fell to five-month lows overnight as nervousness ahead of France’s first round of presidential elections this weekend and ongoing geopolitical tensions increased demand for safe-haven U.S. debt.
- 15:30 GMT+1 US Crude Oil Inventories
- 23:45 GMT+1 NZD CPI q/q