Most Asian Stocks Gain Modestly As Oil, US Dollar Find Floors
- Asian Stocks made gains as the US Dollar held up and crude oil did likewise
- Official data made good reading for Japan’s import and export levels
- Mainland Chinese stocks were more torpid
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Asia/Pacific stocks were broadly higher Thursday, although some indexes pared gains into the close, as oil prices recouped some of their losses and the US Dollar firmed up.
Crude had earlier fallen to four-week lows following news of unexpected gains in US inventories and shale production but found their footing somewhat as the session wore on. There may also have been some respite from restive regional geopolitics but investors are still casting nervous glances at North Korea.
The approach of what could be a very tight first round of the French Presidential vote this weekend, and the now-looming prospect of a UK general election are also keeping market players glued to the newswires.
Still, stocks managed gains, with the ASX adding 0.2%. Mainland Chinese stocks were more mixed, with Shanghai up and Shenzhen down, but not by much in either case. The Nikkei couldn’t hold on and ended flat, having been up about 0.3% at one point.
Economic data were sparse, but what there was showed continuing vigor in Japanese trade. The New Zealand Dollar enjoyed a buoyant and lively session on news that consumer prices rose above forecasts in its home country, to five-year peaks. This news engendered new confidence that interest rates could rise this year, even if they are still thought unlikely to do so soon.
The US Dollar ticked up slightly against a basket of major-traded peers, and was notably stronger against the Japanese Yen.
International tensions over North Korea reportedly continued to support gold through the session, although the spot price was steady at around $1,278/ounce.
The remainder of Thursday will offer US initial and continuing jobless claims figures, along with the business outlook snapshot from the Philadelphia Federal Reserve branch. Eurozone consumer confidence data will also be released, and Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is due to speak in Washington DC, twice.
--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX
DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.