Asian Indexes Can’t Ride S&P Rally
Wall Street’s S&P 500 rose for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, buoyed by strong economic data and advances in the tech sector. The index hit new highs for 2019, but the investor confidence felt in the United States did not make its way across the ocean for Thursday’s trading session.
Asian markets were mostly lower on Thursday in the early afternoon, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and Australia’s ASX 200 the only major indexes to head modestly higher. The Nikkei 225 was up 0.16 percent as of 1:48 p.m. HK/SIN, and Australia’s benchmark index was up 0.30 percent. The Shenzhen Composite fell steeply, down 2.13 percent, while the Shanghai Composite was down 1.17 percent. South Korea’s Kospi eased 0.21 percent. The Hang Seng Index was flat. The declines came even after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq followed the S&P 500 up on Wednesday. Asian investors are waiting for data to be released from China that will provide clues about the health of the country’s economy. The numbers are set to be released later today.
Currency Market Movements
Most currency traders remained fixated on the British pound which slumped significantly on Thursday after British lawmakers rejected a no-deal Brexit. The pound was down 0.67 against the dollar, trading at $1.3247. The euro also advanced significantly against the pound, up 0.61 percent to 0.8541. The euro’s gains on Thursday marked the fifth consecutive day of gains for the currency. Analysts expect that the real test for the pound will be forthcoming, even though the cable saw its strongest one-day percentage gain since April 2017. Investors remain concerned that there could be a general election in the United Kingdom, a move which could hurt the British pound further.