A gauge of Asian stocks outside Japan was little changed, after yesterday capping a third daily gain, before Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen delivers her first testimony on monetary policy.
The MSCI Asia Pacific excluding Japan Index held at 444.60 as of at 8:04 a.m. in Hong Kong, the same level as yesterday’s close. The regional gauge has climbed 2.3 percent from a five-month low on Feb. 5 as equities rebounded from a global rout. Yellen will speak on monetary policy and the outlook for the economy today for the first time since being sworn in as the central bank’s head. Japanese markets are closed for a holiday.
“With U.S. employment data materially deteriorating, there is a building argument that the Fed should ease off tightening monetary conditions,” Gary Dugan, who helps oversee about $53 billion as Singapore-based chief investment officer in Asia and the Middle East for Coutts & Co., the wealth management unit of Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, wrote in a e-mail yesterday. “We suspect that Yellen would not want to significantly change policy at her first meeting in March.”