| 20 April 2024, Saturday |

Asia equities tick up, as investors look to the U.S.

Asian equity markets rose cautiously Tuesday after hitting year-to-date lows the day before, with traders keeping at least half an eye on the United States, where major companies report earnings and the Federal Reserve meets this week to discuss policy.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.26 percent after hitting a low since mid-December on Monday, weighed down by large Chinese stocks.

The Nikkei 225 index in Japan rose 0.58 percent.

Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong markets recovered a little from their lowest level this year on Monday, when investor worries over government regulations had battered stocks, especially in the education, property and tech sectors.

Chinese blue chips rose 0.15%, and the Hong Kong benchmark rose 0.31%, though real estate, healthcare, education stocks were still down.

Upcoming events across the Pacific also were on investors’ minds.

“It’s profits and the Fed. The next couple of days are going to be monumental as everyone tries to figure out how strong corporate fundamentals are at the moment and in what context that is happening in terms of the economic outlook and policy settings,” said Kyle Rodda, market analyst at IG Markets

Alphabet Inc, Apple Inc and Microsoft Corp are set to publish quarterly results late on Tuesday, with Inc’s due later in the week.

In addition, the Federal Reserve will begin its two day meeting later on Tuesday, with investors set to parse a statement and press conference from Fed Chair Jerome Powell due late Wednesday.

They will be looking to see how the central bank will balance fast-rising prices with the complication of increased coronavirus infections.

All three major U.S. stock indexes eked out record closing highs for a second straight session on Monday, but S&P 500 futures dropped 0.14%.

The looming Fed meeting kept a dampener on major moves in other asset classes.

The dollar hovered a little below recent highs, with the euro and sterling gaining some ground, the latter helped by a decline in COVID-19 cases in the UK.

U.S. Treasury yields rose in early Asian trading on Tuesday, following a choppy Monday.

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes was 1.2829% compared with its U.S. close of 1.276%, while the two-year yield touched 0.2114% compared with a U.S. close of 0.196%.

Gold was slightly higher, with spot gold trading at $1797.2791 per ounce, while U.S. crude ticked up 0.1% to $71.98 a barrel.

Bitcoin dropped to below $37,000 from a Monday peak of $40,581 after offered a qualified denial of a weekend news report that said it was preparing to accept cryptocurrencies.

Reporting by Alun John; Editing by Lincoln Feast.

  • Reuters