In Asian Equity Markets stocks were mixed on Monday in thin trade, following Wall Street’s declines and the G20’s decision to drop a pledge to avoid trade protectionism, while the Federal Reserve’s less hawkish-than-expected comments continued to drag the dollar lower. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan added 0.1 percent. Chinese stocks added 0.2 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.6 percent. But Australian stocks lost 0.3 percent and South Korea slid 0.5 percent. Japan closed for a holiday.
In Currency Markets the dollar slowly ceded ground in Asia on Monday with greenback bulls still nursing grudges after the Federal Reserve’s rate guidance last week proved to be less “hawkish” than many had wagered on. A holiday in Japan made for thin trading, leaving the dollar a fraction softer near two-week lows at 112.54 yen. The euro climbed 0.2 percent to $1.0762, riding the investor relief over the Netherlands election defeat of anti-European Union candidate Geert Wilders to hit a near-six-week peak on Friday. The appetite for risk was evident in emerging market currencies with the dollar falling to 22-month lows against the Taiwan dollar and near a five-month trough on the South Korean won.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell on Monday as rising U.S. drilling activity and steady supplies from OPEC countries despite touted production cuts pressured already-bloated markets. Prices for benchmark Brent crude futures were 0.56 percent, below their last settlement, at $51.47 per barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 0.78 percent, at $48.40 a barrel. Spot gold rose 0.4 percent to $1,233.60 per ounce, after earlier touching $1,234.60 an ounce, its highest since March 6. Spot silver rose 0.4 percent on to $17.39 per ounce on Monday. Platinum was up 0.5 percent to $962.50, while palladium rose 0.4 percent to $775.50.
In US Equity Markets stocks fell on Friday as bank shares fell alongside Treasury yields while Adobe helped buoy the S&P tech sector and the Nasdaq Composite. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.1 percent, to end at 20,914.62, the S&P 500 lost 0.13 percent, to 2,378.25 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.24 point to 5,901.00. Tiffany touched a 19-month high of $94 after higher-than-expected quarterly results. Shares of the high-end jeweler closed up 2.7 percent. Amgen was down 6.4 percent after the extent of a cholesterol drug’s benefits in a highly anticipated study disappointed investors, even if it cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes by over 20 percent in patients with heart disease.
In Bond Markets U.S. Treasury yields edged lower on Friday after data showing low inflation in March suggested that the Federal Reserve could aim for a slower pace of interest rate hikes this year than it had forecast on Wednesday. Benchmark 10-year Treasuries were last up 6/32 in price to yield 2.502 percent, from a yield of 2.524 percent late Thursday. Yields on other Treasuries maturing between two and 30 years were set for their biggest weekly decrease in three weeks, with two-year yields on track to fall about 4 basis points for the week.