(Bloomberg) — Asian stocks pared losses Friday and U.S. futures stabilized as investors digested comments from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell that fell short of trying to rein in bond yields. Treasuries held a decline.
Stock markets dipped in South Korea but edged up in Japan and China, which set a conservative growth target of more than 6% for 2021 that signals more-restrained monetary and fiscal policies this year. On Thursday, the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 extended its decline to almost 10% from February’s peak, and the S&P 500 erased nearly all its 2021 gains.
Australian bond yields surged in early trade, tracking a selloff in the U.S. 10-year that lifted the yield curve to its steepest point since 2015. Japan’s benchmark yield dropped as the central bank governor quashed speculation that the trading band for the 10-year might be widened. The U.S. dollar strengthened against nearly all major peers.
Oil prices leapt after the OPEC+ alliance surprised traders with its decision to keep output unchanged. Bitcoin fell with other risk assets.
Powell noted the recent runup in yields without hinting at intervention, saying that he would be “concerned by disorderly conditions.” While some investors view the rates moves as a sign of economic strength, others are growing concerned about rising inflation and the impact of higher yields on elevated stock valuations.
“It makes logical and intuitive sense that Treasury yields should move back up to 1.50% or 2%, but we are concerned with the rest of the market about the speed at which it’s getting there,” said Mona Mahajan, investment strategist at Allianz Global Investors LLC.
Stock-Market Momentum Comeuppance Gets No Sympathy From the Fed
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate voted to take up a $1.9 trillion relief bill backed by President Joe Biden, setting off a debate expected to end this weekend with approval of the nation’s sixth stimulus since the pandemic-triggered lockdowns that began a year ago.
The February U.S. employment report on Friday will provide an update on the speed and direction of the country’s labor-market recovery.
These are some of the main moves in markets as of 2:35 p.m. in Tokyo:
S&P 500 futures dropped 0.1%. The gauge retreated 1.3% on Thursday.Japan’s Topix index added 0.1%.South Korea’s Kospi index fell 0.5%.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.7%.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.3%.Shanghai Composite lost 0.2%.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was steady.The euro dipped 0.1% to $1.1960.The Japanese yen fell 0.1% to 108.04 per dollar.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose a basis point to 1.57%.Australia’s 10-year yield was up seven basis points at 1.83%.
West Texas Intermediate crude jumped 0.9% to $64.43 a barrel.Gold dropped 0.1% to $1,695 an ounce.
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