Asia-Pacific stocks struggle for direction; New Zealand’s central bank hikes interest rates

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade, following an overnight bounce on Wall Street with stocks rebounding from Monday’s losses.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 shed earlier gains to fall 0.18% while the Topix index advanced 0.4%. South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.46%.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index sat marginally higher. In Southeast Asia, the Straits Times index advanced 0.5%.

Shares in Australia dipped, with the S&P/ASX 200 falling 0.29%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.07% lower.

Mainland Chinese markets remain closed on Wednesday for the holidays.

RBNZ hikes rates

The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) on Wednesday raised its official cash rate to 0.5%, joining South Korea and Norway in being among the earliest countries to raise rates in the pandemic era.

“The Committee noted that further removal of monetary policy stimulus is expected over time, with future moves contingent on the medium-term outlook for inflation and employment,” the RBNZ said in a release.

Following the rate hike announcement, the New Zealand dollar briefly jumped above $0.697, before retreating from those levels and last trading at $0.6947.

Stock picks and investing trends from CNBC Pro:

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 311.75 points to 34,314.67 while the S&P 500 jumped 1.05% to 4,345.72. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 1.25% to 14,433.83.

Despite Tuesday’s gains, all three major averages on Wall Street are still down for the week.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers was at 94.027 following its bounce earlier in the week from below 93.9.

The Japanese yen traded at 111.61 per dollar, weaker than levels below 111.2 seen against the greenback yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7275, still above levels below $0.728 seen yesterday.

Oil prices were higher in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.1% to $82.64 per barrel. U.S. crude futures advanced 0.1% to $79.01 per barrel.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *