Wall Street pauses, but Asia higher

Asia equities are mostly higher

US markets had a sideways finish after retracing early gains as short-term momentum ebbed after some positive sessions. The S&P 500, Nasdaq and Dow Jones closed almost unchanged. In Asia, though, the rally has resumed in earnest, lifting the futures on all three by between 0.30% and 0.45%.

That was enough to maintain momentum in most of Asia. The Nikkei 225 is unchanged ahead of a holiday tomorrow, as is South Korea, where the Kospi is up just 0.15%. China markets are performing strongly, with the Lunar New Year closure of the Shenzhen and Shanghai investor pipes appearing to funnel money back into mainland markets. The Shanghai Composite has risen 1.10%, with the CSI 300 climbing 1.25%, boosted by robust lending data yesterday. The Hang Seng is outperforming, led by China big-tech listings, rising 1.65%.

Elsewhere in Asia, Singapore is 0.15% lower after DBS earnings, with Kuala Lumpur up 0.20%, Jakarta unchanged, and Bangkok up 0.60%. Australian markets continue to grind higher with commodity prices firm again overnight. The All Ordinaries had risen 0.50%, with the ASX 200 climbing 0.55%.

Except for mainland China, where local investors seem intent on going into the one-week break all-in on equities, the rest of Asia has a pre-holiday look about it. Europe will likely follow suit and open slightly higher as the markets await US inflation data this evening.

Investors are smiling, as equity markets everywhere, including the US, remain at or near all-time highs. With the Democrats showing that they are intent on rolling the stimulus package through mostly unchanged, over Republican objections, as a higher print than 1.60% for the Core Inflation number, tonight could see inflation fears make a temporary return. That would likely push US yields a bit higher and in turn, lift the US dollar. Equity markets would likely retreat, but any dip is certain to meet the FOMO army.

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Jeffrey Halley

Jeffrey Halley

Senior Market Analyst, Asia Pacific, from 2016 to August 2022
With more than 30 years of FX experience – from spot/margin trading and NDFs through to currency options and futures – Jeffrey Halley was OANDA’s Senior Market Analyst for Asia Pacific, responsible for providing timely and relevant macro analysis covering a wide range of asset classes. He has previously worked with leading institutions such as Saxo Capital Markets, DynexCorp Currency Portfolio Management, IG, IFX, Fimat Internationale Banque, HSBC and Barclays. A highly sought-after analyst, Jeffrey has appeared on a wide range of global news channels including Bloomberg, BBC, Reuters, CNBC, MSN, Sky TV and Channel News Asia as well as in leading print publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He was born in New Zealand and holds an MBA from the Cass Business School.
Jeffrey Halley
Jeffrey Halley

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