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Global equity/currency market update: Asia stocks waver on rate cut delays; yen leaps

2 May 2024 8:57 am
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Mumbai, 2 May (Commoditiescontrol): Asian stocks got off to a shaky start on Thursday after the Federal Reserve flagged delays to interest rate cuts, while the dollar fell heavily on the yen in what traders reckoned was Japanese intervention.

Oil fell sharply overnight as the prospect of cuts seemed more distant and after a surprise jump in U.S. stockpiles, with Brent crude futures hitting a seven-week low of $83.44.

Japan's Nikkei fell 0.7% at the open and South Korean shares lost 0.5%. Australian shares were flat. S&P 500 futures rose 0.4% after the cash index had closed 0.3% lower overnight.

The dollar's value fell by almost five yen in 40 minutes of late New York trade to touch 153 yen . It was last at 155.63 yen, having traded around 157.5 before the sudden dive.

The move follows sharp yen gains on Monday which Japanese money market data suggested may have been intervention to the tune of some $35 billion in dollar selling.

Treasuries rallied, pushing yields lower, as the Fed also said it would slow down its balance-sheet runoff.

Ten-year Treasury yields fell 9.3 basis points to 4.591% in New York. Two-year Treasury yields fell 10.7 bps to 4.939%.

After pricing in as many as six rate cuts for 2024 earlier this year, markets now price only one, in December.

Overnight chipmaker Qualcomm beat market expectations for sales and profit, sending its shares up 4% in after-hours trading. Focus later on Thursday will be on Apple results, where markets have braced for a big drop in sales and are waiting to hear of the company's plans for AI in iPhones.

Much of Asia is returning from a holiday that had closed markets on Wednesday, though Chinese bond, currency and stock markets remain shut through the rest of the week.

In foreign exchange trade the yen's gains – and relief that the Fed is not talking about hikes – pushed the dollar lower. Early in the Asia session the Australian dollar was 0.1% higher at $0.6513. The euro was steady at $1.0715.

Outside of oil the stronger dollar weighed on other commodities. Copper prices fell in London. Gold rose overnight and was last holding at $2,324 in Asia trade.

(By Commoditiescontrol Bureau: 09820130172)

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