Asian markets advance cautiously after mid-week dip
Asian markets were in a more subdued mood and making a tentative recovery from a mid-week sell-off that saw many global stock markets suffer their worst session since the US presidential election. A terror attack in London on Wednesday also kept investors in a cautious mood.
A sharp jolt to global financial markets this week has raised questions about the outlook for the “Trump trade” – the global rally that took place after Donald Trump won the US presidential election.
Concerns this week Mr Trump might struggle in his efforts to repeal Obamacare had markets fretting he may also face difficulty pushing through his other pro-business agendas.
Wall Street recovered on Wednesday from its biggest one-day sell-off in more than five months, with the S&P 500 edging 0.1 per cent higher. Volatility, as measured by the popular Vix index, is still rising, though, up 2.7 per cent yesterday at 12.8 compared to 11.6 a week ago.
Owing to that sentiment, markets will be closely watching the outcome of the House vote on repealing Obamacare, which is scheduled to take place later today.
Japan’s Topix was down 0.2 per cent while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.3 per cent. The two benchmarks both suffered their largest one-day falls on Wednesday since the US presidential election.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was up 0.5 per cent, while China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.4 per cent.
The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of global peers, was up 0.1 per cent at 99.814. On Tuesday the gauge closed below the psychologically important 100 mark for the first time since early February.
The yen was 0.3 per cent weaker today at ¥111.47 per dollar and facing its first decline in eight sessions. The New Zealand dollar was fractionally weaker as the country’s central bank held interest rates at a record low 1.75 per cent and played down the prospects for possible rate rises this year.
The British pound was flat at $1.2484. The currency slid yesterday after a terror attack took place outside Britain’s Houses of Parliament.
Gold was 0.3 per cent weaker at $1,245.44 an ounce and looking to end a six-session winning streak during which investors shifted toward perceived haven investments.
Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 0.6 per cent at $50.93 a barrel in Asia. During Wednesday trading, Brent briefly dropped below the $50 mark for the first time since November 30. West Texas Intermediate added 0.7 per cent to $48.35.