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Asian Stocks Mixed As Investors Look to Powell Testimony

Asian Stocks Mixed As Investors Look to Powell Testimony

2018-02-27 06:36:00
David Cottle, Analyst
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Talking Points:

  • Asian stock markets were mixed but most posted gains
  • Investors hope Jerome Powell won’t ratchet up the hawkish rhetoric
  • A wider trade gap weighed on the New Zealand Dollar

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Most Asian markets made gains Tuesday but the US Dollar lost a little ground as investors awaited Congressional testimony from new Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell which is coming up.

Markets keenly await news of his current thinking on the likely path of US interest rates and prospects for inflation. The current hopeful mood seems to have been engendered by faith that Powell will not add to the current vista which takes in three rate rises this year.

The Nikkei 225 was up by 1.1% at the close, with tech, manufacturers and financials all in the green. The Kospi added 0.3% and Australia’s ASX was 0,2% higher. Chinese stocks did less well and returned some of the previous sessions’ gains as investors mulled news that the rules may change to allow President XI Jinping to serve another term.

US Treasury yields went nowhere in particular as the markets looked to Powell. The US Dollar eased very slightly across the board, although the Australian Dollar weakened against it a day very short of key Asia/Pacific market news. The New Zealand Dollar was also on the defensive thanks to the release of trade data which showed a larger than expected deficit.

Gold prices were steady but crude oil prices slipped back a little, although they remain close to three-week highs.

There’s plenty left on Tuesday’s economic schedule. Aside from that Fed testimony investors can look forward to Germany’s Consumer Price Index, US goods trade and durable-goods order data, consumer confidence numbers and the Case-Shiller House Price Index.

--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX or us the Comments section below to get in touch

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