Asia markets rise on hopes for central bank action
HONG KONG: Asian markets mostly rose Tuesday on hopes that central banks in the United States and Europe would take action to boost their sluggish economies after a stream of negative data.
Regional bourses shrugged off a lacklustre performance on Wall Street, as investors hoped the US Federal Reserve would take stimulus measures after weak manufacturing data, and that the ECB would cut rates at a meeting Thursday.
Tokyo was up 0.76 per cent, Hong Kong put on 1.49 per cent, and Seoul was up around 1.0 per cent.
Shanghai, which has fallen recently on fears about slowing Chinese economic growth, was up 0.56 per cent, but Sydney was off 0.06 per cent.
The euro was weak in Asian trade however, as a rally late last week on a surprise eurozone deal fizzled out and investors looked cautiously ahead to the European Central Bank meeting.
On Monday in the US, data from the Institute for Supply Management showed manufacturing contracted for the first time in almost three years in June, with its index falling to 49.7 per cent, from May’s 53.5 per cent.
But American stocks finished mixed as hopes rose that the latest weak economic report from the world’s biggest economy might spur the Fed into a third round of asset purchases, known as quantitative easing.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 8.70 points, or 0.07 per cent, to finish at 12,871.39.
The S&P 500 index advanced 3.35, or 0.25 per cent, to 1,365.51, while the tech-rich Nasdaq outperformed, gaining 16.18 points, or 0.55 per cent, to 2,951.23.
Investors are also looking ahead to Friday, when the US government releases its highly anticipated June job growth and unemployment numbers.
In Europe, poor eurozone data suggested to many investors that the ECB would cut its main interest rate on Thursday from the current record low of 1.0 per cent.
Unemployment across the 17-nation zone rose to a euro-era high of 11.1 per cent while manufacturing purchasing managers indices across Europe continued to show activity contracting, though some PMIs exceeded expectations.
The ECB “may have little choice but to implement a range of policy tools to shore up the ailing economy as the region faces a growing threat of a prolonged recession,” David Song, Currency Analyst at DailyFX, told Dow Jones Newswires.
On Friday, European leaders agreed to use emergency funds to support ailing banks directly and to ease pressure on governments’ debt burdens through direct bond purchases, if necessary.
They also agreed to cobble together $150 billion to boost growth.
On currency markets, the euro was at $1.2585 and 100.09 yen in Tokyo morning trade, little changed from $1.2582 and 100.05 yen in New York late Monday.
The dollar was also little changed at 79.53 yen, from 79.50 yen
Oil prices slipped in response to slumping manufacturing output in the world’s major economies, analysts said.
New York’s main contract, light sweet crude for August delivery, retreated 17 cents to $83.58 a barrel and Brent North Sea crude for delivery in August shed six cents to $97.28.
Gold rose to $1,599.80 an ounce at 0300 GMT, compared with $1,590.52 an ounce late Monday.