Asian Market Points to Lower Open on Wall Street
Asian stock markets slipped and the dollar held its ground today after the US Federal Reserve’s latest assessment of the U.S. economy reinforced expectations for more interest rate increases later this year. European shares rose after an index of economic activity rose to a six-year high.
After the dollar had risen across the board after the Fed’s meeting on Wednesday, the dollar index which measures it against the top six world currencies, was up another 0.2 percent on the day at a two-week high of 99.462.
It was marginally higher at 112.80 yen but more than a third of a percent stronger at $0.7394 per Aussie dollar and 0.2 percent higher against the New Zealand dollar.
The euro meanwhile drew some support from Macron’s performance ahead of Sunday’s election run-off, and was barely budged at $1.0876.
Futures traders are now pricing in a 72 percent chance of a June rate hike, from 63 percent before the Fed’s statement, according to the CME Group’s FedWatch Tool.
Attention now turns to U.S. non-farm payrolls for March, due on Friday, after separate data showed private employers added 177,000 jobs in April. That was higher than expected but the smallest increase since October.
South Korea’s Kospi added 1 percent to end at 2,241.24 but other major regional benchmarks fell, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edging 0.1 percent lower to 24,683.88 and the Shanghai Composite on mainland China dipping 0.3 percent to 3,127.37.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 fell 0.3 percent to 5,876.40.
Singapore’s benchmark fell but indexes in other Southeast Asian countries and Taiwan gained.
Japan’s market was closed for a holiday.
Oil prices fell for the fourth day in a row on Thursday, nearing their lowest level since late March after data showed a lower than expected decline in U.S. inventories.
Brent crude oil futures LCOc1 were down 32 cents at $50.47 a barrel by 0957 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures CLc1 were also down 32 cents at $47.50 a barrel.
Both contracts hit their lowest levels since late March the previous day.
Rising U.S. production and stubbornly high inventories remain key drivers of the oil price, but equally important is the level of compliance among members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to their pledge to cut output by 1.2 million barrels per day.