Asian equities are cautiously higher
Wall Street had another exuberant session on Friday, pricing in the worst of the Fed being out of the way, and expectations of progress in a resolution of the Ukraine-Russia conflict. Asia, with one eye on oil prices this morning, is somewhat more cautious. Its modest rally today likely owed more to the Turkish Foreign Minister’s comments and the end of the Shenzhen lockdown. US index futures are creeping lower as well in Asia, introducing another note of caution.
On Friday, a market pre-programmed to buy the dip saw Wall Street post another impressive day of gains. The S&P 500 rose by 1.18%, the Nasdaq leapt 2.02% higher, and the Dow Jones rose 0.74%. Some profit-taking among the fast-money algo gnomes sees the index futures easing in early Asian trading, all three indexes down around 0.30%, taking the heat out of an Asian advance.
It looks like the rally in oil prices is also having an adverse effect, with early Asian increases easing as Brent crude climbs. Japan is on holiday, but South Korea’s Kospi has fallen by 0.30%. China markets are also higher, helped along by the end of the Shenzhen lockdown. The Shanghai Composite and CSI 300 have climbed by 0.50%, while the ever-skittish Hang Seng has given back some early gains to be just 0.40% higher.
In regional markets, Singapore is 0.15% higher, with Taipei jumping 0.80% as Foxconn’s Shenzhen plant reopens. Kuala Lumpur has fallen by 0.60% as political uncertainty returns, while Jakarta is flat, and Manila is up just 0.25%. Australian markets are also quiet, the ASX 200 and All Ordinaries easing by 0.15%.
European markets had a very uneven rally on Friday and from here, probably need a concrete Ukraine agreement to re-energise their recovery. Oil prices are USD 14 a barrel off their lows last week, and if Europe does decide to somehow embargo Russian oil, it will be hard to see the European rally continue. US markets remain desperate to price in a Ukraine agreement and buy buy buy, however fragile its underlying intellectual foundations are. I wouldn’t bet against that continuing in the absence of any contradictory news headlines.
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