TOKYO, July 4 2019 : Asian stocks advanced today, tracking sharp gains on Wall Street as recent data from multiple sectors pointed to slowing economic growth in the United States, bolstering the prospect of rate cuts by the Federal Reserve.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3% as did Japan’s benchmark Nikkei .N225, and Australia was up 0.6%. A U.S. public holiday kept activity somewhat subdued.
On Wall Street, which closed at midday yesterday for the eve of the U.S. Independence Day, all three major stock indexes finished at a record closing highs as expectations grew that the Fed would take a more dovish turn.
A report by a payrolls processor ADP showed U.S. companies added jobs in June, but fewer than what analysts had forecast, raising concerns the labor market is softening even as the current U.S. economic expansion marked a record run last month,
“Stocks and bonds rallied together overnight as the markets were betting on interest rate cuts at the European Central Bank and the U.S. Federal Reserve,” said Noriko Miyoshi, head of fixed income at Simplex Asset Management in Tokyo.
“The pace looks too fast. Investors across the world rushed to take part in the game of yield hunting,” she said.
Global sovereign bond rallied overnight. The 10-year Treasury note yield plunged to 1.939, a level last seen following Donald Trump’s election as president in November 2016.
European Union leaders’ nomination of Christine Lagarde, the head of the International Monetary Fund, to replace Mario Draghi as president of the ECB, reinforced expectations of more monetary policy easing if it’s needed.
The 10-year Italian bond yield hitting 1.599%, its lowest since October 2016 as the government eases its budget ambitions.
The market’s next focus is U.S. non-farm payrolls for June, due tomorrow.
In the foreign exchange market, the euro traded at $1.1288 EUR=, near its two-week low of $1.1268 set the previous day.
The dollar was little changed at 107.72 yen JPY=, losing steam as the fall this week in U.S. bond yields.
The British pound stood at 1.2580 GBP=D4, having hit a two-week low of $1.2557 as economic data reinforced expectations that the Bank of England would join its central bank counterparts in cutting interest rates to shore up a worsening economic outlook.
Brent crude futures traded down 0.4% at $63.58 per barrel in early Asian trade today, while U.S. crude futures fetched $57.15 per barrel, down 0.3 percent. – Reuters