TOKYO, RAW – Asian shares have wobbled on Monday amid sharp losses in gold and oil prices, while the dollar held near four-month highs after an upbeat US jobs report lifted bond yields.
Sentiment was shaken by a sudden dive in gold as a break of $US1,750 ($A2,386) triggered stop loss sales taking it as low as $US1,684 ($A2,296) an ounce. It was last down 2.2 per cent at $US1,723 ($A2,349).
Brent sank almost two per cent on concerns the spread of the Delta variant would temper travel demand.
Holidays in Tokyo and Singapore made for thin trading conditions, leaving MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan down 0.1 per cent.
Japan’s Nikkei was shut but futures were trading just below Friday’s close. Nasdaq futures slipped 0.5 per cent and S&P 500 futures 0.3 per cent.
Chinese trade data out over the weekend undershot forecasts, though figures due later Monday should show inflation is no barrier to more policy stimulus.
The US Senate was closer to passing a $US1 trillion ($A1.4 trillion) infrastructure package, though a single Republican lawmaker was holding up a vote on Sunday.
Investors were still assessing whether Friday’s strong US payrolls report would take the Federal Reserve a step nearer to winding back its stimulus.
“There is not a lot of disagreement on a taper announcement coming sometime between September-December followed by actual tapering sometime between November and January,” said Rodrigo Catril, a senior FX strategist at NAB.
However, the pace of tapering was still up in the air and would decide when an actual rate hike came, he said. The Fed is currently buying $US120 billion ($A164 billion) of assets a month, so a $US20 billion ($A27 billion) taper would end the program in six months whilst a $US10 billion ($A14 billion) tapering approach would take a year.
The spread of the Delta variant could argue for a longer taper with US cases back to levels seen in last winter’s surge with more than 66,000 people hospitalised.
Figures for July CPI due this week are also expected to confirm inflation has peaked, with prices for second hand vehicles finally easing back after huge gains.
There are four Fed officials speaking this week and will no doubt offer their own take on tapering.
In the meantime, stocks have been mostly underpinned by a robust US earnings season. BofA analysts noted S&P 500 companies were tracking a 15 per cent beat on second quarter earnings with 90 per cent having reported.
“However, companies with earnings beats have seen muted reactions on their stock price the day following earnings releases, and misses have been penalised,” they wrote in a note.
“Guidance is stronger than average but consensus estimates for two-year growth suggest a slowdown amid macro concerns.”
Financials firmed on Friday as a steeper yield curve is seen benefiting bank earnings, while also penalising the tech sector where valuations are sky high.
Yields on US 10-year notes were up at 1.30 per cent in the wake of the jobs report, having hit their lowest since February last week at 1.177 per cent.
That jump gave the dollar a broad lift and knocked the euro back to $US1.1744 ($A1.6011), its lowest since April. The dollar likewise climbed to 110.28 yen and away from last week’s trough of 108.71.
That took the US currency index up to 92.882 and nearer to the July peak of 93.194.
Oil prices eased further after suffering their largest weekly drop in four months amid worries coronavirus travel restrictions would threaten bullish expectations for demand. Brent fell $US1.30 ($A1.77) to $US69.40 ($A94.62) a barrel, while US crude lost $US1.29 ($A1.76) to $US66.99 ($A91.33).