Thursday 7th February: Asian markets mostly higher

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Thursday 7th February:  Asian markets mostly higher 1

Global Markets:

  • Asian Stock Markets : Nikkei down 0.54%, ASX up 1.10%
  • Commodities : Gold at $1308.05 (-0.48%), Silver at $15.67 (-0.21%), Brent Oil at $62.34 (-0.56%), WTI Oil at $53.74 (-0.50%)
  • Rates : US 10-year yield at 2.693, UK 10-year yield at 1.216, Germany 10-year yield at 0.162

News & Data:

  • (NZD) Unemployment Rate 4.30% vs 4.10% expected
  • (NZD) Employment Change q/q 0.10% vs 0.30% expected
  • (CAD) Ivey PMI 54.7 vs 56.4 expected
  • Brexit: UK will not be ‘trapped’ in backstop, May to tell EU
  • UBS expects the RBA will cut rates twice by the middle of next year

Markets Update:

Asian stock markets are mostly higher on Thursday despite the weak cues overnight from Wall Street as higher commodity prices lifted resources stocks. Optimism about U.S.-China trade talks, after U.S. Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he and other officials will travel to Beijing next week, boosted investor sentiment. Some of the markets, including China, remain closed for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.54 percent to close at 20,751.28 while the Topix declined 0.83 percent to finish its trading day at 1,569.03 as shares of Fast Retailing fell by 2.70 percent. Softbank Group soared 17.73 percent, on the back of its announcement on Wednesday that it would purchase up to 600 billion yen ($5.46 billion) of stock in its largest ever buyback.

The Australian market is advancing, extending its recent winning streak despite the modest losses overnight on Wall Street, as higher commodity prices boosted resources stocks. Banks are also notably higher.

In currency markets, the early mover was the New Zealand dollar which slid after data showed unemployment, job gains and wages growth all missed forecasts. Its neighbor, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), caused ripples on Wednesday when it tempered a long-standing tightening bias and indicated the next move in rates could just as well be down as up. The dollar index has now risen for five straight sessions to reach 96.44, recovering almost all the losses suffered after the Federal Reserve all but abandoned plans for more rate hikes.

Oil prices eased too after U.S. crude inventories rose and as production levels in the country held at record levels.

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