Asian Markets Trade Mixed But Narrow As Key Risk Events Near


Talking Points:

  • Asian Stocks were mixed with no index moving far
  • Event risk is piling up for the end of the week
  • The UK election and the former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director’s testimony are on market minds

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It was a mixed but quite flat session for Asia/Pacific stocks Wednesday, despite Wall Street’s falls in the session before. The ever-closer approach of a crucial UK General Election on Thursday seems to be keeping market heroics to a minimum. Recently-dismissed former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey will testify before the US Senate on the same day.

In Tokyo the Nikkei closed up just 0.02%, showing little reaction to some more positive economic data in the shape of official leading indicators. Stocks in Shanghai were also moderately higher, but Sydney’s ASX 200 ended flat and the Kospi in Seoul was down by 0.4%.

There was one bit of European equity news through the session. Spanish banking giant Santander purchased smaller rival Banco Popular in a rescue operation. The European Central Bank had reportedly said that Popular was “failing or likely to fail” because of dwindling cash reserves.

In currency markets the Australian Dollar got a boost from first-quarter Gross Domestic Product numbers. These managed to beat forecasts by a whisker and, more importantly, dispel a growing feeling before the fact that growth might have been substantially weaker. Other currencies essentially marked time, with the US Dollar drifting broadly upward.

Oil prices slipped a little – 5 cents or so per barrel- in the now-customary trade-off between high supply levels and rising Middle East tensions. Gold meanwhile edged down but remains near 7-week highs. Raised levels of uncertainty are fuelling haven bids.

The rest of the session will offer investors a look at the economic outlook release from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, along with US oil inventory statistics out of key delivery node, Cushing, Oklahoma.

— Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX

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