WASHINGTON, D. C., RAW – Asian markets pointed to a mixed open on Wednesday, as investors juggle the prospects for an economic comeback and additional stimulus with continued pandemic concerns.
Australia’s benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index was up 0.06 per cent in early trading, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures were up 0.12 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were down 0.37 per cent.
The tentative open comes after a mixed finish on Wall Street. The expectation that US policymakers will stick with significant fiscal and monetary stimulus helped drive stocks higher and spur a sell-off in bonds. Concerns over rising interest rates weighed on some sectors.
“US markets started the week in an optimist mode after being closed for Presidents Day on Monday,” wrote ANZ analysts in a research note. “As inflation expectations rise, investors are looking to reduce their exposure to fixed income in favour of investments which will rise with any wave of inflation.”
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average scored another record closing high on Tuesday, climbing 0.2 per cent. The S&P 500 fell 0.06 per cent, and the Nasdaq Composite fell 0.34 per cent.
The MSCI’s global stock index was down 0.1 per cent.
The surge came as the United States continued to ramp up vaccine distribution and President Joe Biden pitched his $US1.9 trillion ($A2.4 trillion) pandemic relief bill.
The continued rise of bitcoin added to the bullish appetite, after the cryptocurrency briefly cleared $US50,000 ($A64,404) for the first time.
The US dollar bounced back from three-week lows, boosted by rising Treasury yields. Against a basket of global rivals , the dollar gained 0.21 per cent.
On Tuesday, the 10-year US Treasury yield rose above 1.3 per cent for the first time since the pandemic took hold. The steepening yield curve reflected expectations of ongoing fiscal and monetary stimulus.
A deep freeze across the US South that shut down wells and refineries helped push oil prices to near 13-month highs on Tuesday. US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures settled up 1 per cent, and Brent settled up 0.1 per cent.
Investors will be eyeing fresh US retail sales data on Wednesday for any signs of recovery, as well as newly published minutes from the Federal Reserve’s January policy meeting.
Earnings reports this week from Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc, Hyatt Hotels Corp and Marriott International Inc will also be scrutinised for signs of a pickup in global travel demand.
Spot gold fell 1.2 per cent on Tuesday, with US gold futures settling down 1.3 per cent as investors veered away from the safe haven.