By Adam Haigh
Asian stocks advanced as worries surrounding a trade war dissipated and U.S. equities recouped losses. The dollar steadied and Treasuries ticked higher.
Equities rose from Tokyo to Sydney, with shares in Hong Kong outperforming. Earlier, the S&P 500 Index bounced from a drop of as much as 1 percent as investors spooked by the departure of pro-trade adviser Gary Cohn took solace from suggestions that President Donald Trump’s tariff plan will spare select countries such as Canada and Mexico. The Mexican peso and the Canadian dollar firmed on the news.
“If you look at the global economic backdrop the world still looks relatively good,” JPMorgan Asset Management Australia Chief Executive Officer Rachel Farrell told Bloomberg Television. “Long term we really look at fundamentals and fundamentals across the world are actually quite strong.”
Markets this week have been gripped by geopolitical developments as the possibility of an escalating global trade war tested traders’ nerves. Attention now turns back to central banks with investors honing in first on the commentary emanating from the European Central Bank’s policy meeting Thursday, then to the Bank of Japan, which concludes its discussions Friday.
Elsewhere, Bitcoin tumbled amid fresh pressure from the U.S. securities regulator. Crude oil traded above $61 a barrel after tumbling more than 2 percent. The Australian dollar was little changed after spiking on a better-than-expected trade balance number.
Terminal users can read more in our markets blog.
Here are some key events coming up this week:
- The Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference runs through March 15 and overlaps with the National People’s Congress meetings in Beijing, through March 20.
- China reports on its trade balance on Thursday.
- The ECB isn’t expected to change policy on Thursday, but the Governing Council may discuss a change to pave the way for the end of quantitative easing.
- BOJ monetary policy decision and briefing on Friday.
- U.S. monthly payrolls data come Friday.
And these are the main moves in markets:
- The Topix index closed 0.4 percent higher in Tokyo and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average rose 0.5 percent.
- Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.7 percent.
- South Korea’s Kospi index was up 0.6 percent.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 1.2 percent.
- The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.2 percent.
- Futures on the S&P 500 were little changed.
- The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.7 percent.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.
- The Japanese yen rose 0.1 percent to 105.95 per dollar.
- The euro was flat at $1.2405.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries was steady at 2.88 percent.
- Australia’s 10-year yield rose one basis point to 2.80 percent.
- West Texas Intermediate crude gained 0.1 percent to $61.19 a barrel after dropping 2 percent.
- Gold inched up 0.1 percent to $1,327 an ounce.
— With assistance by Sarah Ponczek, and Emily Cadman