Asian markets cautious after US volatility

HONG KONG (AFP) – Asian stocks were mostly trading up yesterday, after a volatile session for US equities and as yields on Treasury bonds retreated from a seven-year peak.

Japanese shares edged higher at the close, ending a four-day run of losses, with purchases making up for the higher yen’s dampening impact.

“After four days of falling… Japanese shares are in a good place for bargain-hunting buys,” chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities Yoshihiro Ito said in a commentary.

Hong Kong was up 0.3 per cent in afternoon trading while Shanghai closed 0.2 per cent higher, both moving back into positive territory for a second day after Monday’s rapid sell-off.

There were also gains in Mumbai, with markets leaping 1.2 per cent after closing at a six-month low on Tuesday, and aviation stocks seeing a boost after domestic media reports that New Delhi may reduce a jet fuel tax.

A woman walks by an electronic stock board of a securities firm in Tokyo. – AP

“(Indian) markets will continue to be volatile in the coming days and will offer great long-term buying opportunities,” head of research at Guiness Securities Soumen Chatterjee told Bloomberg News.

There was growth in in other Asian markets, with Sydney up 0.1 per cent and Bangkok rising 1.3 per cent.

But global markets remained cautious on several fronts.

US and European markets meandered on Tuesday, with investors nervous after 10-year US Treasury bond yields surged above three per cent and the IMF sounded a cautious note on the global economy.

On Wall Street, the Dow closed down 0.2 per cent at 26,430.57 with US shares facing another day of pressure over higher interest rates.

“Markets continued their tenuous voyage through a pothole-encumbered landscape, dealing with the fragile US-China relations… and Brexit developments providing more ambiguity,” said Stephen Innes, head of Asia-Pacific trading at OANDA.

“It’s no wonder investors have a high level of misgivings.”

Eyes were fixed on the Chinese yuan amid a backdrop of deepening US-China tensions and a weak yuan, following steps this week from authorities to spur lending in the economy.

Last week the yuan hit a 19-month low, with growing fears the currency was sliding towards the psychological milestone of seven per dollar – a level not seen since the global financial crisis.

Traders are also waiting for the latest data around new lending and money supply, which will be closely watched as Beijing strives to support flagging growth.

Shares fell in the Chinese Internet giant Tencent for the ninth straight day on the back of rumours about a gaming regulatory crackdown – costing the company its place as one of the world’s 10 biggest companies.

In London, the FSTE 100 dipped 0.1 per cent on opening to its lowest in six months.