(Bloomberg) — Asian stocks looked set for a largely muted end to the week as investors monitor the latest round of trade talks that are taking place in Beijing. Australian bonds tracked declines in Treasuries as the global bond rally showed signs of easing.
Futures on Japanese shares indicated modest gains, and Hong Kong pointed to a flat start. Australian equities opened flat. The S&P 500 Index edged higher Thursday, with commodity and financial shares leading gains. As more negotiations between the U.S. and China take place Friday, investors were reminded that concrete developments may take more time as White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the Trump administration is prepared to keep negotiating with Beijing for weeks or even months. The dollar held gains.
The final day of 2019’s first quarter may bring with it extra levels of volatility as investors square away positions for what’s been a tumultuous period dominated by the surge in sovereign bonds. That showed signs of easing Thursday and Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams downplayed fears of recession risks being signaled by bond markets, following last week’s inversion in part of the yield curve. Still, the MSCI gauge of global stocks remains on track for its best quarter since 2012.
“Risk assets are being supported right now, in my view, by a dovish Fed, a China stabilization and better sentiment around geopolitical risks,” said Frances Donald, the head of macroeconomic strategy at Manulife Asset Management. “That probably gives this rally a little bit more juice.”
Elsewhere, oil recouped losses that had been triggered by President Donald Trump saying that OPEC should lift crude production. Gold tumbled below $1,300 an ounce, while palladium had its biggest drop since 2010. The Turkish lira led declines among the world’s major currencies despite an organized effort to stem losses days before elections.
Here are some key events coming up:
Fed official Randal Quarles will speak Friday to the Shadow Open Market Committee on “Strategic Approaches to the Fed’s Balance Sheet and Communications.”Theresa May will put her Brexit divorce deal to a vote in Parliament on Friday.
These are the main moves in markets:
Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.6 percent in Singapore trading. Hang Seng futures added less than 0.1 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index opened little changed. The S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent. Futures were flat early Friday.
The yen held at 110.67 per dollar. The offshore yuan was steady at 6.7371 per dollar. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat after a 0.3 percent advance Thursday.The euro bought $1.1228, up 0.1 percent.The British pound was at $1.3055 after sliding 1.1 percent Thursday.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose two basis points Thursday to 2.39 percent.Australia’s 10-year bond yield added three basis points to 1.76 percent.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.3 percent to $59.46 a barrel.Gold held at $1,291.15 an ounce after sinking 1.5 percent.
–With assistance from Shoko Oda, Vildana Hajric and Sarah Ponczek.
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