Wall Street gained and the dollar found some reprieve overnight as risk aversion faded ahead of the Wednesday’s Asian trading session.
The moves were attributed to talk that the Trump administration was moving ahead with its tax reform policy proposals. President Donald Trump’s aides and congressional leaders were reportedly in broad agreement over how corporate and individual tax rates could be reduced, according to a Politico report.
Despite the pick-up in risk appetite overnight, market sentiment remained rather fickle, ANZ Research said in a Wednesday note. “Sentiment is yo-yoing in thin summer markets ahead of the Jackson Hole symposium,” ANZ economist Giulia Lavinia Specchia said in the note.
On Wall Street, stocks ended the session higher as investors anticipated progress on tax reform. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.90 percent, or 196.14 points, to close at 21,899.89 and the S&P 500 gained 0.99 percent, or 24.14 points, to end at 2,452.51. The Nasdaq outperformed, jumping 1.36 percent, or 84.35 points, to close at 6,297.48.
The U.S. currency climbed against a basket of six major currencies overnight, with the dollar index standing at 93.545 at 6:55 a.m. HK/SIN. That was off a low of 92.997 seen earlier in the week. The greenbackalso strengthened against the Japanese currency to fetch 109.67, compared to levels around the 108 handle seen at the beginning of the week.
In Asia, futures pointed to a higher open for Japanese equities. Nikkei futures traded in Chicago rose 0.86 percent to 19,550 and Osaka futures were 0.50 percent higher at 19,480. Both were above the Nikkei 225’s previous close of 19,383.84.
Down Under, SPI futures were off 0.09 percent at 5,745 — compared to the benchmark index’s last close of 5,750.124.
In corporate news, China Unicom was back in the spotlight after the telecommunications operator’s Hong Kong unit entered into a share subscription agreement with Unicom BVI, according to a release on the Hong Kong Exchange. Unicom BVI, controlling shareholder of China Unicom Hong Kong, will subscribe for a maximum of 6.65 billion subscription shares at a price of HK$13.24 per share.
Other market movers during the day could include Toshiba, which has started talks with Western Digital as it attempts to secure an agreement for the sale of its flash memory arm, Nikkei Asian Review reported.
In economic news, Indonesia’s central bank lowered its benchmark interest rate by 25 basis points to 4.5 percent in a surprise move. A Reuters poll had found that 19 out of 20 economists surveyed had expected rates to remain on hold. The rate cut was Bank Indonesia’s first since October.
Meanwhile, oil prices climbed overnight, although gains were capped as Libya’s largest oil field reopened, according to Reuters. Before the release of U.S. stockpile data, Brent crude futures rose 0.4 percent to settle at $51.87 a barrel and U.S. crude futures climbed 0.6 percent to settle at $47.83.
U.S. crude prices deflated slightly after settlement when data showed a fall in stockpiles in line with forecasts and a build in gasoline inventories, Reuters said.
Here’s the economic calendar for Wednesday (all times in HK/SIN):
- 12:00 p.m.: Malaysia July inflation
- 12:00 p.m.: Thailand July trade
- 1:00 p.m.: Singapore July core inflation rate
- 4:00 p.m.: Taiwan July retail sales and industrial production