Asian markets mixed ahead of Fed chair testimony
Currency traders watch monitors at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2018. Asian markets mostly extended gains on Tuesday after Wall Street finished higher overnight. The upcoming Federal Reserve chair's testimony at U.S. Congress later in the day, his first public appearance as chair of the Fed, was in focus. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)
February 26, 2018 - 11:33 PM
SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of - Tokyo stocks finished higher but other markets in Asia were mixed on Tuesday ahead of the Federal Reserve chair's testimony at U.S. Congress later in the day, his first public appearance as chair of the Fed.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan's Nikkei 225 jumped 1.1 per cent to 22,389.86 but South Korea's Kospi finished 0.1 per cent lower at 2,456.14. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index dropped 0.6 per cent 31,321.96 while China's Shanghai Composite Index slumped 1.1 per cent to 3,292.07. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.2 per cent to 6,056.90. Stocks in Taiwan and Singapore turned lower while other Southeast Asian countries were higher.
ANALYST'S TAKE: "The focus is no doubt set ahead to Fed Chair Jerome Powell's speech, though the market continues to reflect little concern over the possibility of any overtly hawkish comments," said Jingyi Pan, a market strategist at IG in Singapore.
FED WATCH: Powell's public debut as chair of the Fed starts later on Tuesday when he is due to testify to the House Financial Services Committee. Investors will be looking for clues about when and how quickly the Fed will continue to raise interest rates. In December, the Fed forecast that it would raise rates three times in 2018 but many think the Fed may accelerate that pace. Investors will also want to know whether Powell is becoming convinced that the Fed is finally on the verge of achieving its 2 per cent inflation target and if so, whether it might soon feel the need to speed up its rate increases.
WALL STREET: U.S. stocks jumped on Monday. The Standard & Poor's 500 gained 32.30 points, or 1.2 per cent, to 2,779.60. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 399.28, or 1.6 per cent, to 25,709.27, and the Nasdaq composite gained 84.07, or 1.1 per cent, to 7,421.46.
OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude fell 5 cents to $63.86 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 36 cents to settle at $63.91 per barrel on Monday. Brent crude, the international standard, lost 14 cents to $67.15 per barrel.
CURRENCIES: The dollar weakened to 106.85 Japanese yen from 106.93 yen. The euro rose to $1.2332 from $1.2316.
News from © The Associated Press, 2018