In Asian Equity Markets the Nikkei 225 gained 0.24 percent while the Topix index added 0.1 percent. Australian shares retraced early losses as the country’s benchmark ASX 200 rose 0.41 percent. Shares of ANZ were down 1.6 percent, Commonwealth Bank lost 1.07 percent, Westpac shed 1.24 percent and the National Australia Bank fell 1.04 percent. On Tuesday, banking stocks had gained after a special government-appointed inquiry into Australia’s financial sector did not recommend breaking up any of the banks or interfering in the way they lend money.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar held steady against its peers on Wednesday, showing little reaction to U.S. President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address which touched upon trade and budget issues but provided investors with few surprises. The dollar index was little changed at 96.072, after briefly touching a near two-week high of 96.135. The Australian dollar fell 1 percent after central bank chief Philip Lowe opened the door to a possible rate cut after more than a year of signaling tighter future policy.
In Commodities Markets oil prices edged higher for the first time in three sessions on Wednesday, although concerns over the outlook for the global economy capped gains. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $53.74 per barrel, up 8 cents from their last settlement. They closed down 1.7 percent on Tuesday. International Brent crude oil futures were at $62.05 per barrel, up 7 cents, after closing down 0.8 percent in the previous session. Global economic worries have weighed on market sentiment in recent days, offsetting support from signs that global supplies are tightening.
In US Equity Markets indices rose on Tuesday as largely upbeat corporate results fueled investor optimism ahead of the highly awaited State of the Union address by President Donald Trump. Shares of Estée Lauder Cos Inc rose 11.6 percent after the cosmetics maker’s quarterly results, driven by strong growth in China, topped estimates. Luxury fashion company Ralph Lauren Corp also reported better-than-expected sales and earnings, sending its shares 8.4 percent higher. The S&P 500 gained 0.47 percent, to 2,737.7 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.74 percent, to 7,402.08.
In Bond Markets Japanese government bond prices edged up across the board on Wednesday after the Bank of Japan conducted a regular debt-purchasing operation and helped tighten supply. Overnight gains by U.S. Treasuries following a weaker-than-expected January U.S. service sector index release also buoyed JGBs. The five-year and 10-year JGB yields each fell half a basis point to minus 0.165 percent and minus 0.020 percent, respectively. The 30-year yield was also down half a basis point at 0.590 percent.