Asian markets muted, awaiting upcoming Fed meeting

Asian shares mostly fell in muted trading Tuesday as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the week.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 NIK, -0.16%   lost 0.3% in early trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 XJO, +0.00%   edged down 0.1% and South Korea’s Kospi SEU, -0.02%   inched down less than 0.1%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng HSI, -0.24%   was about flat, while the Shanghai Composite SHCOMP, -0.22%   fell 0.3%.

Among individual stocks, Hitachi 6501, +3.56%   jumped in Tokyo trading, while Nikon 7731, -2.34%   and Rakuten 4755, -1.92%   slid. In Hong Kong, Sino Biopharmaceutical x 2922, +5.41%   and CSPC Pharmaceutical 1093, +3.30%   surged, as Sunny 2382, -2.75%  nd CNOOC 0883, -1.85%   fell. SK Hynix 000660, -1.03%   slipped in Korea, as did Taiwan Semiconductor 2330, -0.62%   in Taiwan. Beach Energy BPT, -3.70%  tumbled in Australia, while Rio Tinto RIO, +1.42%   and BHP BHP, +1.57%   gained.

U.S. stock indexes finished modestly higher Monday, extending the market’s solid gains from a rally last week.

The S&P 500 SPX, +0.37%   gained 10.46 points, or 0.4%, to 2,832.94. The benchmark index is now up 13% 2019 so far, which is a bigger gain than it’s had in four of the last five full years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +0.25%   rose 65.23 points, or 0.3%, to 25,914.10.

The Nasdaq composite COMP, +0.34%   added 25.95 points, or 0.3%, to 7,714.48.

On market players’ mind is the Federal Reserve meeting later in the week, and speculation it may slow its pace of increases for interest rates. The worry in December was that the central bank would raise rates too fast in the face of a slowing global economy and choke off growth. The Fed will meet to discuss interest-rate policy this

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Asian shares flat as Fed looms, May's Brexit deal in chaos

TOKYO – Asian shares held tight ranges on Tuesday ahead of the a Federal Reserve policy meeting, but were broadly supported near six-month highs on expectations the central bank might strike a dovish tone, while fresh Brexit worries dogged the pound.

FILE PHOTO: Men look at stock quotation boards outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat, easing back from its highest level since Sept. 21 hit earlier in the session.

Japan’s Nikkei average dropped 0.3 percent, while Australian stocks eased 0.1 percent.

Chinese stocks held tight ranges, with benchmark Shanghai Composite hovering almost flat, the blue-chip CSI 300 declining 0.2 percent, and the Hang Seng edging 0.1 percent lower.

All three major U.S. indexes rose overnight, lifted by the bank and tech sectors, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite adding between 0.3 and 0.4 percent each. [.N]

“Speculators appear to be betting on a rise in stock prices on the back of a dovish Fed. The Fed is unlikely to kill such hopes. Yet there is a risk the Fed could tone down its dovishness,” said Masanari Takada, cross-asset strategist at Nomura Securities.

With global economic growth appearing to slow, traders were focused on the Fed meeting, which kicks off its two-day policy meeting later in the day, for clues about the likely path of U.S. borrowing costs.

Investors will particularly look to see whether policymakers have sufficiently lowered their interest rate forecasts to more closely align their “dot plot”, a diagram showing individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years.

Also expected is more detail on a plan to stop cutting the Fed’s holdings of nearly $3.8 trillion in bonds.

“A key focus is when the Fed will

Read More Here...

Asian shares flat as Fed looms, May's Brexit deal in chaos

TOKYO – Asian shares held tight ranges on Tuesday ahead of the a Federal Reserve policy meeting, but were broadly supported near six-month highs on expectations the central bank might strike a dovish tone, while fresh Brexit worries dogged the pound.

FILE PHOTO: Men look at stock quotation boards outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat, easing back from its highest level since Sept. 21 hit earlier in the session.

Japan’s Nikkei average dropped 0.3 percent, while Australian stocks eased 0.1 percent.

Chinese stocks held tight ranges, with benchmark Shanghai Composite hovering almost flat, the blue-chip CSI 300 declining 0.2 percent, and the Hang Seng edging 0.1 percent lower.

All three major U.S. indexes rose overnight, lifted by the bank and tech sectors, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite adding between 0.3 and 0.4 percent each. [.N]

“Speculators appear to be betting on a rise in stock prices on the back of a dovish Fed. The Fed is unlikely to kill such hopes. Yet there is a risk the Fed could tone down its dovishness,” said Masanari Takada, cross-asset strategist at Nomura Securities.

With global economic growth appearing to slow, traders were focused on the Fed meeting, which kicks off its two-day policy meeting later in the day, for clues about the likely path of U.S. borrowing costs.

Investors will particularly look to see whether policymakers have sufficiently lowered their interest rate forecasts to more closely align their “dot plot”, a diagram showing individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years.

Also expected is more detail on a plan to stop cutting the Fed’s holdings of nearly $3.8 trillion in bonds.

“A key focus is when the Fed will

Read More Here...

Asian shares mixed in muted trading ahead of US Fed meeting

Asian shares were mixed in muted trading Tuesday as investors awaited the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting later in the week.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 lost 0.3 percent to 21,528.23 in early trading. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.1 percent to 6,182.10. South Korea’s Kospi inched down less than 0.1 percent to 2,178.91. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose nearly 0.1 percent to 29,429.99, while the Shanghai Composite gained 0.3 percent to 3,104.89.

U.S. stock indexes finished modestly higher Monday, extending the market’s solid gains from a rally last week.

The S&P 500 gained 10.46 points, or 0.4 percent, to 2,832.94. The benchmark index is now up 13 percent for 2019 so far, which is a bigger gain than it’s had in four of the last five full years. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 65.23 points, or 0.3 percent, to 25,914.10.

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The Nasdaq composite added 25.95 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,714.48. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 10.39 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,563.93.

On market players’ mind is the Federal Reserve meeting later in the week, and speculation it may slow its pace of increases for interest rates. The worry in December was that the central bank would raise rates too fast in the face of a slowing global economy and choke off growth. The Fed will meet to discuss interest-rate policy this week, with an announcement scheduled for Wednesday, but economists expect it to announce no change to rates.

Some economists say the Fed could release documents Wednesday that would suggest one rate increase in 2019, or possibly zero, after the Fed raised rates four

Read More Here...

Asian shares steady ahead of Fed meeting; May's Brexit deal in chaos

TOKYO – Asian shares held tight ranges on Tuesday ahead of the a Federal Reserve policy meeting, but were broadly supported near six-month highs on expectations the central bank might strike a dovish tone, while fresh Brexit worries dogged the pound.

FILE PHOTO: Men look at stock quotation boards outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, December 5, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat, easing back from its highest level since Sept. 21 hit earlier in the session.

Japan’s Nikkei average dropped 0.3 percent, while Australian stocks eased 0.1 percent.

Chinese stocks held tight ranges, with benchmark Shanghai Composite hovering almost flat, the blue-chip CSI 300 declining 0.2 percent, and the Hang Seng edging 0.1 percent lower.

All three major U.S. indexes rose overnight, lifted by the bank and tech sectors, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq Composite adding between 0.3 and 0.4 percent each. [.N]

“Speculators appear to be betting on a rise in stock prices on the back of a dovish Fed. The Fed is unlikely to kill such hopes. Yet there is a risk the Fed could tone down its dovishness,” said Masanari Takada, cross-asset strategist at Nomura Securities.

With global economic growth appearing to slow, traders were focused on the Fed meeting, which kicks off its two-day policy meeting later in the day, for clues about the likely path of U.S. borrowing costs.

Investors will particularly look to see whether policymakers have sufficiently lowered their interest rate forecasts to more closely align their “dot plot”, a diagram showing individual policymakers’ rate views for the next three years.

Also expected is more detail on a plan to stop cutting the Fed’s holdings of nearly $3.8 trillion in bonds.

“A key focus is when the Fed will

Read More Here...

Malaysia Stock Market May See Continued Support

The Malaysia stock market has tracked higher in back-to-back trading days, gathering more than 15 points or 1 percent along the way. The Kuala Lumpur Composite Index now rests just above the 1,690-point plateau and it’s tipped to open in the green again on Tuesday.

The global forecast for the Asian markets suggests mild upside on trade optimism and a bump in crude oil prices. The European markets were mixed and the U.S. bourses were up and the Asian bourses figure to split the difference.

The KLCI finished modestly higher on Monday following gains from the plantation stocks and a mixed picture from the financial shares.

For the day, the index advanced 10.40 points or 0.62 percent to finish at the daily high of 1,690.94 after moving as low as 1,681.36. Volume was 3.3 billion shares worth 1.9 billion ringgit. There were 455 decliners and 440 gainers.

Among the actives, Maxis surged 4.39 percent, while Tenaga Nasional soared 3.00 percent, Hartalega Holdings spiked 1.47 percent, Sime Darby jumped 1.40 percent, IHH Healthcare and Petronas Dagangan both climbed 1.21 percent, Axiata gathered 1.19 percent, Genting perked 1.15 percent, IOI Corporation advanced 1.10 percent, Digi.com accelerated 1.08 percent, Sime Darby Plantations added 0.99 percent, Dialog Group skidded 0.93 percent, Top Glove dropped 0.88 percent, Genting Malaysia added 0.29 percent, Maybank collected 0.21 percent, RHB Capital lost 0.17 percent, Kuala Lumpur Kepong rose 0.08 percent and CIMB Group, Public Bank and Petronas Chemicals were unchanged.

The lead from Wall Street is upbeat as stocks fluctuated on Monday but maintained a positive bias and finished higher.

The Dow added 65.23 points or 0.25 percent to 25,914.10, while the NASDAQ gained 25.95 points or 0.34 percent to 7,714.48 and the S&P 500 rose 10.46 points or 0.37 percent to 2,832.94.

The strength on Wall Street

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Stocks – S&P 500 Ends Higher, Powered by Surge in Energy Stocks – Investing.com

© Reuters.

Investing.com – The S&P 500 closed higher Monday as gains in energy and consumer discretionary stocks helped offset falls in shares of Boeing and Facebook.

The rose 0.25%, the gained 0.38%, while the added 0.34%.

Wall Street got the week off to a modestly winning start powered by rising energy stocks as oil prices settled 1% higher after Saudi Arabia said it may need to extend oil supply cuts beyond June into the second half of 2019.

Rising consumer discretionary stocks added to gains in the broader market, led by Amazon.com (NASDAQ:), as the e-commerce giant’s planned second headquarters in northern Virginia won approval from local officials. A surge in shares of Caesars Entertainment (NASDAQ:) also firmed up consumer discretionaries amid reports the casino operator was in the early stages of exploring a merger with Eldorado Resorts (NASDAQ:).

The communications services sector was an exception to the generally buoyant mood as Facebook (NASDAQ:) fell 3.3% after a downgrade from Needham.

Needham cut its rating on the social media giant from buy to hold amid worries about the financial impact of the company’s pivot towards privacy and encrypted messages. Concerns about growing regulation risks weighed on the shares. The concern: More regulation could hamper the company’s ability to monetize its data.

The social media giant has seen its stock rebound 22% so far this year from the hammering it took in 2018, but remains some 27% below its 52-week high.

Boeing (NYSE:) cut some of its early losses, easing downside pressure on industrials, but the aerospace giant still ended the day 1.8% lower as French accident investigator BEA said the flight data recorder from the Ethiopian Airlines 737 Max’s black box showed “clear similarities” between the deadly crash on March 10 and a previous Boeing 737 Max crash

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Energies Lead Modest US Stock Gains

The Nasdaq composite added 25.95 points, or 0.3 percent, to 7,714.48. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 10.39 points, or 0.7 percent, to 1,563.93.

Major stock indexes in Europe finished mostly higher.

U.S. stocks have had a strong showing this year, with all the major indexes showing a gain of at least 11 percent.

One key to the recent rally has been the belief that the Federal Reserve will slow its pace of increases for interest rates. The worry in December was that the central bank would raise rates too fast in the face of a slowing global economy and choke off growth. The Fed will meet to discuss interest-rate policy this week, with an announcement scheduled for Wednesday, but economists expect it to announce no change to rates.

“The expectations are that the Fed won’t do anything in the first half of the year,” Stovall said.

Some economists say the Fed could release documents Wednesday that would suggest one rate increase in 2019, or possibly zero, after the Fed raised rates four times in 2018 and three times in 2017.

Perhaps more important is what the Fed says about its vast trove of bonds. The central bank bought trillions of dollars of bonds after the 2008 financial crisis to keep interest rates low and support markets, but it’s been slowly letting some roll off as they mature. Investors want to know how much the Fed will ultimately hold onto, and how long it will take to get there.

Monday’s upward swing in oil prices came after OPEC canceled a meeting that had been scheduled for next month. The move means that a production cut imposed by the oil cartel in January remains in place, at least until the cartel agrees to meet again.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil rose 1 percent to settle at $59.09 a barrel, while Brent crude gained 0.6 percent to close at $67.54 a barrel.

Energy stocks got a boost from the pickup in oil prices. National Oilwell Varco jumped 6.2 percent, Halliburton gained 3.2 percent and Marathon Petroleum rose 2.7 percent.

Investors also bid up shares in Worldpay after Fidelity National Information Services agreed to buy the payment processor for about $35 billion in stock and cash. Including Worldpay’s debt, Fidelity National valued the deal at $43 billion.

Worldpay’s U.S.-listed shares jumped 10 percent. Fidelity National, also called FIS, slipped 0.7 percent.

Edwards Lifesciences vaulted 6.2 percent for the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after it said patients in a trial using an expandable valve had better results than those who had standard open-heart surgery.

Boeing fell further as the investigation continues into two recent deadly crashes of its 737 Max 8 plane model. Preliminary information shows clear similarities between the two. The stock declined 1.8 percent, following its 10.3 percent loss last week.

Bond prices fell. The yield on the 10-year Treasury rose to 2.61 percent from 2.59 late Friday.

The dollar fell to 111.41 Japanese yen from 111.48 yen on Friday. The euro strengthened to $1.1338 from $1.1320.

Gold fell 0.1 percent to $1,301.50 an ounce, silver was little changed at $15.32 an ounce and copper added 0.1 percent to $2.91 a pound.

In other energy futures trading, wholesale gasoline climbed 1.4 percent to $1.88 a gallon, heating oil added 0.1 percent to $1.97 a gallon and natural gas picked up 2 percent to $2.85 per 1,000 cubic feet.

___

AP Business Writer Yuri Kageyama contributed from Tokyo.

(BE)

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Wall St. advances ahead of Fed policy meeting

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Banks and tech helped lead Wall Street higher on Monday, while Boeing and Facebook were a drag and investors eyed this week’s U.S. Federal Reserve meeting for affirmation of its commitment to “patient” monetary policy.

FILE PHOTO: A trader works on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., March 13, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Following the S&P 500’s best week since November, the benchmark index ended the session about 3.3 percent below its all-time high reached in September. All three major U.S. indexes closed in positive territory.

The Dow’s fourth straight advance ran into headwinds from Boeing Co, which fell 1.8 percent as the company faced increasing scrutiny following a fatal crash in Ethiopia on March 10. The drop in shares of the world’s largest plane maker extended last week’s 10.3 percent decline and was the heaviest weight on the blue-chip index.

The Fed’s two-day policy meeting begins on Tuesday. Investors anticipate the U.S. central bank will reinforce its dovish approach toward further interest rate hikes.

“There’s always trepidation going into a Fed meeting,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York. “Anything that gives visibility to the potential for future rate hikes is going to keep people on the sidelines.”

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 65.23 points, or 0.25 percent, to 25,914.1, the S&P 500 gained 10.46 points, or 0.37 percent, to 2,832.94 and the Nasdaq Composite added 25.95 points, or 0.34 percent, to 7,714.48.

Of the 11 major sectors in the S&P 500, eight closed in the black, with energy, consumer discretionary and financial companies enjoying the biggest percentage gains.

The prospect of extended OPEC supply cuts sent crude prices to four-month highs, which boosted energy companies, while news of upcoming initial public offerings (IPOs),

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