Global Markets: Asian stocks trade mixed on hopes of US Fed rate cut delay
Asian shares turned mixed on Wednesday while rising Treasury yields lifted the dollar as markets wondered if the US Fed would confirm or confound expectations for US policy easing this month.
Asian shares turned mixed on Wednesday while rising Treasury yields lifted the dollar as markets wondered if the world`s most powerful central banker would confirm or confound expectations for US policy easing this month. MSCI`s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.4%, after three sessions of losses. South Korea edged up 0.4%, but Japan`s Nikkei lagged with a loss of 0.2%. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 dithered either side of flat in very slow trade.
Chinese blue chips barely budged as data showed inflation remained stubbornly subdued despite a spike in pork prices.
A worrying lack of inflation globally is one reason investors are counting on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell to sound suitably dovish when testifying to Congress on Wednesday.
Futures are still fully priced for a 25-basis-point cut at the Fed`s July 30-31 meeting, but have abandoned wagers on a half-point move. They had implied a 25% probability of an aggressive cut before Friday`s upbeat jobs report.
"We still think the odds favour a 25 bps "insurance" cut," said Kevin Cummins, a senior U.S. economist at NatWest Markets.
"The Fed`s consideration of rate cuts is not only about growth but also about inflation, which remains well below target, and inflation expectations, which were breaking to the downside before the Fed signalled the likelihood of cuts."
Overnight, Atlanta Fed bank president Raphael Bostic let nothing out of the bag by saying the central bank was debating the risks and benefits of letting the U.S. economy run "a little hotter."
Lurking in the background, U.S. and Chinese trade officials held "constructive" talks on trade by phone on Tuesday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said.
Wall Street had been duly circumspect, with the Dow ending Tuesday down 0.08%, while the S&P 500 added 0.12% and the Nasdaq 0.54%.