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Asian Stocks Rise As Investors Look Hopefully To New Fed Chair

Asian Stocks Rise As Investors Look Hopefully To New Fed Chair

2018-02-26 06:38:00
David Cottle, Analyst

Talking Points:

  • Asian stocks were all in the green as Monday’s session wound down
  • A strong Wall Street Friday and hopes for no ratcheting up of rate-hike prospects from new Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell both helped
  • The US Dollar slipped back on lower Treasury yields

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Asian stocks made broad gains Monday, following Wall Street’s stronger Friday session, as investors looked forward to a busy week which will bring news of official US inflation levels and the first White House Testimony from newly-minted Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

The Nikkei 225 ended up 1.2% and there was plenty of green on the screens elsewhere, with Australia’s ASX 200 up by 0.7%, the Hang Seng up by 0.8% in Hong Kong and Seoul’s Kospi a less impressive 0.1% higher.

Markets seem hopeful that, while Mr. Powell will probably stick to the Fed’s current script which does suggest further interest rate rises this year, he may not suggest that any more aggressive tightening is on his mind.

In the currency markets the US Dollar gave up some early session gains to slip a little as US yields retreated somewhat. There wasn’t any first-tier Asian economic data to give trade overt direction. Of news that did break, reports that China may change its rules on term limits to permit President Xi Jinping to remain in office was probably the most eagerly read. The Euro was also a little firmer although that maket is looking nervously toward Italy’s elections next week in which euroskeptic parties could do well.

Gold prices inched back up after a miserable week last week while crude oil prices got a lift to two-week highs on reports that Saudi Arabia will keep output well below its current cap.

Still to come Monday, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi will speak in Brussels, while St/ Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard is also due to talk. The British Bankers’ Association will release its home loans snapshot for January and US new home sales will also be in the spotlight.

--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

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