The selloff in riskier assets eased after U.S. stocks staged a recovery, with most Asian equity markets resuming their upward trajectories as the dollar put the brakes on losses.
Japan and Australia led gains from Singapore to South Korea, as stock markets recovered from a brief tailspin after the failure of the U.S. health-care bill raised questions about the ability of Donald Trump’s administration to enact reform. The dollar was steady after falling to the lowest since Trump’s election victory. The S&P 500 Index pared declines Monday, while the VIX Index fell amid optimism that other U.S. policy priorities will succeed and as economic growth remains promising.
The slide in equity markets was “a knee-jerk reaction driven by fears that Trump’s pro-growth policies will not be taking off,” said Jonathan Ravelas, chief market strategist at BDO Unibank Inc. in Manila. “We are seeing a recovery from that sentiment as some investors have realized that a delay in Trump’s agenda gives a space of relief for Asia since his policies include restrictive trade measures that could hurt economies in the region.”
Investors are weighing the chance of slower inflation necessitating less need for quicker interest-rate increases from the Federal Reserve. Fed Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans said two hikes may be the right amount of tightening for the U.S. economy this year, given uncertainty surrounding the outlook for inflation and government spending.
Here are this week’s key events:
- U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May will on Wednesday formally trigger the start of two years of Brexit negotiations with a letter announcing Britain’s planned withdrawal from the European Union.
- Proposals to design and build Trump’s promised 2,000-mile border wall between the U.S. and Mexico are due March 29.
- Hungary, Mexico, South Africa and Thailand are among countries setting interest rates.
- Samsung Electronics Co. will introduce its Galaxy S8 smartphone, the company’s first new mobile phone since the debacle with the Note 7 battery fires that led to its recall.
Here are the main moves in markets:
- The yen was up 0.1 percent at 110.56 per dollar as of 1:19 p.m. in Tokyo after earlier falling for only the second time in 11 sessions.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat after dropping 0.4 percent Monday.
- The Topix index climbed 1.2 percent, recovering most of Monday’s 1.3 percent tumble. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 1.3 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index gained 0.5 percent and Singapore’s Straits Times Index was up 0.7 percent.
- The Kospi added 0.2 percent in South Korea, where fourth quarter GDP growth was revised up to 2.4 percent year-on-year from 2.3 percent.
- The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.3 percent following a 0.1 percent decline Monday. Taiwan’s Taiex Index slid 0.6 percent.
- Futures on the S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent. The underlying gauge dropped 0.1 percent Monday, paring a loss of as much as 0.9 percent. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slid 0.4 percent.
- The yield on 10-year Australian government bonds edged down to 2.71 percent, while that on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 2.37 percent.
- Gold was steady at $1,254.61 an ounce after rising 0.9 percent Monday.
- West Texas Intermediate crude was up 0.5 percent at $47.98 per barrel following a 0.5 percent drop the previous day.