Asian shares mostly carve out gains, tracking Wall Street's lead

Asian stocks traded mostly higher on Thursday, tracking gains seen on Wall Street overnight as the yield on the U.S. 10-year Treasury stayed above 3 percent.

The Nikkei 225 rose 0.45 percent in Tokyo, shrugging off weak core machinery orders, a leading indicator for capital expenditure, for the month of March. The broader Topix was higher by around the same level, wit its banking subindex leading gains in the morning.

Over in Seoul, the Kospi edged up by 0.39 percent, with technology sector and manufacturing stocks trading higher.

Symbol
Name
Price

 

Change
%Change

NIKKEI

HSI

ASX 200

SHANGHAI

KOSPI

CNBC 100

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 hovered just below the flat line, slipping 0.05 percent. The heavily weighted financials subindex declined 0.9 percent in the morning, dragging the index lower, while the materials and energy sectors gained.

MSCI’s index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan held above the flat line, tracking higher by 0.08 percent in morning Asia trade.

On the earnings front, Singapore Airlines is slated to release full-year results later in the day.

U.S. stocks closed higher on Wednesday, with retail sector stocks climbing following strong results from department store company Macy’s. Also of note, the small-cap Russell 2000 added 1 percent and finished at a record close.

After surging past the 3 percent level on Tuesday, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note rose to a fresh near seven-year high. The 10-year Treasury yield on Wednesday surpassed the 3.1 percent level for the first time since Jul 8, 2011.

In Europe, stocks mostly finished the day higher despite the move higher in Italian bond yields. Italy’s FTSE MIB, however, declined 2.32 percent as the right-wing Lega party denied reports that it’s seeking a 250 billion euro ($296 billion) debt write-off if it becomes part of a power-sharing deal with the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement.

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that whether his planned meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un goes through remained to be seen. Earlier, North Korea said it would rethink the June 12 summit if the U.S. insisted on denuclearization.

The uncertainty did not appear to have a major impact on markets in the region.

“I think investors are just going to hold on the sidelines and kind of watch this, see how it develops. I expect there to be a lot of this sort of political rhetoric leading into the summit. I don’t think it’s going to be a big investment thesis for the markets,” Jack McIntyre, portfolio manager at Brandywine Global Investment Management, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of major currencies, last stood at 93.283 after rising to a five-month high of 93.632 overnight. Gains in the greenback in recent week come amid expectations that the Federal Reserve will be more hawkish than other central banks.

Against the yen, the dollar traded at 110.36 at 8:04 a.m. HK/SIN.

On the energy front, U.S. crude futures rose 0.38 percent to trade at $71.75 per barrel and Brent crude futures added 0.14 percent to trade at $79.39.

What’s on tap 

Here’s the economic calendar for Thursday (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 8:30 a.m.: Singapore non-oil domestic exports
  • 9:30 a.m.: Australia unemployment rate
  • 6:00 p.m.: Indonesia central bank interest rate decision

— CNBC’s Thomas Franck and Silvia Amaro contributed to this report.


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