In Asian Equity Markets Japanese stocks fell on Wednesday as investors took profits in shippers and semiconductor firms, with U.S. inflation data in focus as it could influence how soon the Federal Reserve pares its stimulus programme. The Nikkei index fell 0.3 percent to 28,868.29 at the midday break, while the broader Topix slid 0.2 percent to 1,958.30. The MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked down 0.15 percent. The Shanghai Composite index was up 0.4 percent at 3,594.53 and the blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.21 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar clung to a small bounce on Wednesday as traders looked to upcoming U.S. inflation data and a European Central Bank meeting to gauge the global recovery and policymakers’ thinking. The euro was steady at $1.2174 early in the Asia session, while the dollar held firm at 109.42 Japanese yen. The Australian and New Zealand dollars were firmly entrenched in narrow bands, with the Aussie at $0.7741, roughly the middle of the past two months’ range, and the kiwi travelling likewise at $0.7197. Sterling was steady at $1.4155.
In US Equity Markets stocks struggled to eke out closing gains on Tuesday as a lack of clear market catalysts kept institutional investors on the sidelines, while retail traders fueled the ongoing meme stocks rally. The Dow fell 0.09 percent, to 34,599.82; the S&P 500 gained 0.02 percent, at 4,227.26; and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.31 percent, at 13,924.91. Boeing Co shares were boosted by Southwest Airlines’ announcement that it had ordered 34 new 737 MAX aircraft, but the planemaker’s shares pared gains to end the session flat.
In Commodities Markets gold fell on Tuesday as a firmer dollar countered a decline in U.S. Treasury yields as investors looked ahead to U.S. inflation data that could influence the Federal Reserve’s timeline to taper monetary support. Spot gold was down 0.4 percent to $1,892.33 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures settled down 0.2 percent at $1,894.40. Meanwhile, silver fell 1 percent to $27.59, palladium lost about 1 percent to $2,806.70, and platinum fell 1.2 percent to $1,159.24. Brent crude futures settled up 73 cents at $72.22 a barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 82 cents to settle at $70.05 a barrel.
In European Equity Markets stocks touched new highs on Tuesday, lifted by travel and real estate shares, but weak German industrial output data and doubts over Britain lifting restrictions later this month capped gains. The pan-European STOXX 600 index closed 0.1 percent higher, with sectors considered more stable such as real estate and telecoms leading gains. German stocks fell 0.2 percent after data showed industrial output fell unexpectedly in April, in a further sign that semiconductor shortages and other supply bottlenecks are hampering the recovery in Europe’s largest economy.
In Bond Markets traders on Tuesday sent longer-term U.S. Treasury yields to their lowest in more than a month after a report showed small business owners less confident, and narrowing the spread of a closely watched part of the yield curve. The benchmark 10-year yield was down 3.9 basis points at 1.5314 percent in afternoon trading. The two-year U.S. Treasury yield was down less than a basis point at 0.1527 percent. The 10-year TIPS yield was at -0.854 percent and the breakeven inflation rate was at 2.377 percent after touching its lowest since late April.