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Asian Shares Finish Mixed After Powell’s Positive Remarks

The Asian Bourse

Asian stocks reportedly finished mixed last Wednesday. Sources claimed that the mixed closing came after the stronger gains recorded faded a bit as investors remained expectant following the positive remarks from Jerome Powell, the Fed Chairman while giving his congressional testimony.

In the Tokyo stock market, Nikkei 225 surged by 0.43% or 96.83 points, and it closed at 22,794.19. The last week gains made it the fourth week of gains in a row.  The weakness of the yen caused exports to increase while automakers tacked on 1.21%. The sharp surges in the stocks of the coal and oil sector also influenced the recorded gains. For instance, sub-index of Topix oil and coal products rose by 2.17% after dropping earlier in the week due to the fall in oil prices.

In the Tokyo stock market, Nikkei 225 surged by 0.43% or 96.83 points, and it closed at 22,794.19

The S&P/ ASX 200 also rose 0.67% and finished at 6,245.10, and the material and healthcare stocks ranked as the best performing sectors on the index. Mining major BHP also surged and closed higher by 3.29% following its record of iron ore production for a whole year.

However, other primary stock markets in Asia closed on the negative side.  In Seoul, for instance, the gains the Kospi had earlier were overshadowed by a fall in price which made it close lower by 0.34% at 2,290.11. Although stocks from the tech stocks had considerable gains (Samsung Electronics rose by 1.53% but the losses recorded in other major sectors such as steelmakers, automakers and constructions dumbed down the impact of the gains.

In Hong Kong, Hang Sen Index slipped 0.26%. The material and energy stocks led the losses, and CNOOC fell 2.5% before the close of trading day.

In China, the Shanghai composite slipped by 0.35% to 2,788.44 which marked the fourth consecutive day of value fall. Shenzhen composite, a smaller volume index, plunged by 0.75% and closed at 1,588.13. The declines reportedly came at a period when the value of the Chinese currency fell lowest about two weeks prior.  The MSCI’s index of stocks in the Asia Pacific (outside Japan) dropped by 0.09% in the afternoon trade.

Powell Positive remarks

The gains recorded in the Asia stock market occurred almost after Powell made a positive assessment of the economy of the U.S. at his congressional testimony the day before. His remarks indicated that the increase in interest rates would still take place gradually.  The Fed boss also referred to the trade issues between the U.S. and its major trading partners expressing the difficulty of predicting the effects which the disputes would have on the economy.

As noted by Rodrigo Catril, a Senior Strategist at the National Australia Bank, Powell’s remarks indicated that the trade policy currently does not affect the Fed’s intentions to continue to increase its interest rates gradually. He added that the Fed is a data-dependent institution and the tone of the Fed Chairman gave room for flexibility should the bank decide to change the course of its interest rates.

Powell’s remarks indicate that the increase in interest rates would still take place gradually

The overnight gains of the dollars that came after Powell’s remarks and the dollar index that tracked the performance of the dollar against other currencies maintained stability at 95.241. For instance, after midday, the dollar against the yen traded at 113.06 after it reached a six-month high earlier that day

Terence Wu, a strategist at OCB Bank, stated that the remarks made by Powell were mere repetition of what was already known and introduced no novel fact to point toward a forward movement of the dollar.

The U.S. Bourse

Stocks on the U.S. bourse surged. For instance, the Nasdaq Composite which is heavily dominated by tech stocks rose to a record high last week Tuesday before it closed up 0.63% to 7,855.12, performing better than other U.S. indexes. Amazon shares reached an all-time high on a report that showed robust Prime Day sales, while Netflix shares closed lower by over 5% after it missed the growth projections for subscribers.

As noted by the American Petroleum Institute, Oil prices were a bit softer following the increase in U.S. crude inventories, rather than the expected decline.  The U.S. crude futures fell by 0.76% and were traded at $67.56 for a barrel and the Brent crude futures also declined by 0.71% and went for $71.65 per barrel.

Air China shares declined by 3.22% in Shanghai. Sources claimed that the fall came following the reduction in its flight hours by regulators due to an emergency incident linked to a co-pilot who was smoking while on board.

Xiaomi stocks rose by 4.31 percent after midday following the Hong Kong stock exchange stating that it had agreed with mainstream stock exchanges to give room for companies that have weighted voting rights to trade through the different connect programs.

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