SINGAPORE, RAW – Global shares have extended their recovery, with Asian markets bouncing from four-week lows as investor focus on economic growth partly offset worries about any near-term rise in US interest rates.
The early momentum in the region was supported by a rally on Wall Street, with the Dow registering its strongest session in more than three months.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.35 per cent, moving above Monday’s four-week lows and notching a four per cent gain so far this year.
Japanese shares led the way, with the Nikkei advancing 2.1 per cent. South Korea stocks rose 0.4 per cent, Australia was up 1.2 per cent and Chinese stocks advanced 0.6 per cent
Last week’s surprise hawkish shift by the US Federal Reserve sent global stock markets skidding as traders brought forward expectations for interest rate increases.
The Fed’s pivot toward starting policy normalisation discussions was driven by rapidly rising inflation, a dynamic that has kept financial markets on edge in the past few months.
“We view the meeting as an initial step of a shift in Fed rhetoric as the central bank continues to catch up with stronger than expected growth and inflation indicators, and the Fed’s inflation forecasts remain well below our projections,” JPMorgan strategists said in a note.
On Monday, Fed officials including St. Louis Fed President James Bullard and Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan toned down their hawkish rhetoric.
Overnight, Wall Street was led higher by shares of banks and energy firms. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.76 per cent the S&P 500 gained 1.40 per cent and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.79 per cent.
“Market direction ahead will depend on how much further we have to go in terms of the peak in economic activity and how much of the temporary bounce in growth and inflation will become structural,” Amundi Asset Management said in its investment outlook for the second half.
“Currently, there is growing evidence that companies are passing on price pressures and that consumers are continuing to buy as the economy fully reopens.”
Investors are keenly focused on the US labour market as its performance is likely to have an influence on the Fed’s policy stance.
In currency markets, the US dollar paused for breath after gaining sharply in the wake of the Fed’s policy surprise.
Against the euro, the US dollar nursed overnight losses of about 0.4 per cent to steady around $US1.1905.
It held at 110.26 yen, and the US dollar index was little changed at 91.96 after giving up about 0.5 per cent on Monday.
Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies had come in for heavy selling on Monday, hurt by a tightening crackdown on trading and mining in China, as well as technical factors.
Bitcoin stabilised in Asian trading and was last up 3.2 per cent to 32,660.
Treasuries Benchmark 10-year notes were last up slightly to yield 1.4768 per cent.
US crude held largely steady at $US74.98 per barrel and Brent eased to $73.6, after they rose on Monday on a pause in talks to end US sanctions on Iranian crude.
Market sentiment also strong on hopes for a quick recovery in oil demand in the US and European markets. Spot gold was little changed at $US1784.23 an ounce.