- Asian markets managed to shrug off a weak US lead and gain on Friday
- Both the Nikkei and the ASX added nearly 1% apiece
- The US Dollar got up off the mat
Asian markets were mostly stronger on Friday, despite Wall Street’s week lead which came in turn as a key Congressional healthcare vote was delayed in the US.
Australia’s ASX 200 rose 1%, with broad gains across the board except for the gold miners. They slipped back as the US Dollar ticked up and US yields rose, although the gold price itself was steady. The Nikkei also added 1%, it almost always responds well to a stronger greenback. A snapshot of Japan’s manufacturing index found it expanding at a slower pace in March, but gave investors no cause for concern.
Mainland Chinese stocks and their counterparts in Hong Kong were close to flat as their sessions wound down.
The dollar edged up against both Yen and Euro on Friday, rising from its recent lows, but gains were capped as investors focused on Washington and the healthcare bill.
Gold prices barely moved through the Asian session, but crude oil prices edged up. News of a fall in Saudi exports to the United States was cited, but oversupply concerns still weigh heavily on this market. Both US crude and international Brent benchmark rose by about ten cents a barrel.
The week is almost over but there’s plenty of life left in the economic-news schedule. Friday will bring service-sector Purchasing Managers Indexes from around the Eurozone, along with a final look at French growth in the last quarter of 2016. The British Bankers’ Association’s home-loan snapshot is also due, as are Canadian consumer price data. The US offers durable goods orders- they always draw the market crowds- and a good geographic spread of Federal Reserve Speakers. Chicago’s Charles Evans, St. Louis’s James Bullard and New York’s William Dudley are all on the roster.
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--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX