Asia-Pacific Stocks Lower as Investors Watch Bond Yields
Shares in Asia-Pacific were mostly lower Friday as investors watched bond yields and technology stocks in the region.
Mainland Chinese stocks closed mixed as the Shanghai composite declined fractionally to 3,501.99, and the Shenzhen component dipped slightly to 14,412.31, while the Shenzhen composite gained 0.171% to 2,298.60.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang announced the world’s second-largest economy would target over 6% for 2021.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed 0.47% lower at 29,098.29.
In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.23% to close at 28,864.32 while the Topix index finished its trading day 0.61% higher at 1,896.18.
South Korea’s Kospi fell 0.57% to close at 3,026.26.
Meanwhile, stocks in Australia also declined on the day, with the S&P/ASX 200 down 0.74% to 6,710.80.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares shed 0.89%.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Thursday that he expects some inflationary pressures in the time ahead, but they likely won’t be enough to spur the central bank to hike interest rates.
“We expect that as the economy reopens and hopefully picks up, we will see inflation move up through base effects,” Powell said during a Wall Street Journal conference. “That could create some upward pressure on prices.”
Bond yields rose again following Powell’s comments, though they later eased in the afternoon of Asia trading hours.
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield last stood at 1.5365%, following an earlier high of 1.583%.
Bond yields in Asia-Pacific were also lower. The yield on the Australian 10-year bond slipped to 1.806%. The 10-year Japanese government bond’s yield declined to 0.082%.
Technology stocks in Asia were mostly lower on Friday. With Hong Kong-listed shares of Chinese tech firms slipped: Tencent shed 1.59% while Xiaomi fell 3.74% and Meituan declined 0.88%.
Shares of Japanese conglomerate SoftBank Group were fractionally higher while South Korean chipmaker SK Hynix declined 1.41%.
Those moves came after the Nasdaq Composite fell 2.11% to 12,723.47 on Thursday — turning negative for 2021.
Asia Markets Currencies and Oil
Oil prices were higher in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 1.41% to $67.68 per barrel. U.S. crude futures rose 1.19% to $64.59 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 91.851, following a rise from levels below 91 seen earlier this week.
The Japanese yen traded at 108.36 per dollar, weaker than levels below 107.4 against the greenback seen yesterday.
The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7681, off levels around $0.783 seen earlier in the week.