In Asian Equity Markets Japanese stocks rose on Wednesday morning as the dollar jumped after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen hinted at an interest rate hike next month, with financial stocks outperforming on higher yields. The Nikkei gained 1.2 percent to 19,459.62 in midmorning trade. The broader Topix added 1.1 percent to 1,555.84 and the JPX-Nikkei Index 400 advanced 1.2 percent to 13,962.83. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan was up 0.8 percent, rising to its highest since July 2015. Australian stocks climbed 1 percent, South Korea’s Kospi tacked on 0.4 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 1 percent.
In Currency Markets the dollar held gains near a 3-1/2-week high on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen signaled a faster pace of U.S. interest rate hikes. The dollar was fetching 114.32 yen, not far from the two-week peak of 114.49 yen touched on Tuesday. The euro was last down 0.1 percent at $1.0572, wallowing near a one-month low of $1.0559 plumbed on Tuesday amid political risk and disappointing regional economic data. The Australian dollar traded at $0.7675, up 0.18 percent. The dollar index was last up 0.1 percent at 101.26. The index rose to 101.38 on Tuesday following Yellen’s remarks, the highest since Jan. 20.
In Commodities Markets oil prices fell on Wednesday over concerns that producer club OPEC would not be able to maintain its high compliance so far with output cuts aimed at reining in a global fuel supply overhang. Brent crude futures were trading at $55.80 per barrel, down 17 cents from their last close. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down 20 cents at $53 per barrel. Spot gold fell 0.14 percent, to $1,226.44 per ounce, while U.S. gold futures rose 0.17 percent to $1,227.50. In other precious metals, spot silver fell by 0.2 percent, to $17.91 per ounce. Platinum fell 0.6 percent, to $994.50 per ounce. Palladium fell 0.1 percent, to $778.10 per ounce.
In US Equity Markets major stock indexes established record highs on Tuesday, led by bank stocks after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said it would be unwise to wait too long to raise interest rates. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.45 percent to end at 20,504.41 points, while the S&P 500 gained 0.40 percent to 2,337.58. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.32 percent to 5,782.57. Eight of the 11 major S&P sectors rose, with healthcare adding 0.73 percent. General Motors added 4.84 percent after Peugeot owner PSA Group said it is in talks to buy GM’s European Opel business. The prospects of sector consolidation caused Fiat Chrysler to jump 4.39 percent, while Ford gained 0.72 percent.
In Bond Markets Japanese government bonds mostly edged down on Wednesday, taking their cue from weaker U.S. Treasuries after the U.S. Federal Reserve chair took a more hawkish tone than many investors had expected. The benchmark 10-year JGB yield rose 0.5 basis point (bp) to 0.095 percent, while 10-year JGB futures were flat at 149.86 at the end of morning trade. The 20-year yield added 1 bp to 0.705 percent on Wednesday, while the 30-year JGB yield rose 1 bp to 0.900 percent, both below their respective one-year highs of 0.730 percent and 0.915 percent hit earlier this month.
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16:00 GMT+0 US Fed Chair Yellen Testifies
16:30 GMT+0 US Crude Oil Inventories