Stocks in Asia fluctuated as investors parsed a mixed set of economic numbers out of China and sought fresh leads after weeks of volatility sparked by trade frictions and geopolitical conflict. The dollar traded at the lowest in two months against most peers.
Equity benchmarks fell in Japan and rose in Australia, while they swung from gains to losses in Hong Kong and China as S&P 500 Index futures climbed. The dollar weakened as U.S. President Donald Trump accused Russia and China of devaluing their currencies, contradicting an assessment from the Treasury Department. Treasury yields ticked higher and West Texas crude futures traded below $67 a barrel.
While geopolitical concerns linger, investor focus this week is back on corporate earnings and a slew of Federal Reserve officials who are due to speak, including the incoming head of the New York Fed, John Williams. Meanwhile, China’s economy expanded in line with estimates in the first quarter, retail sales came in stronger than expected in March, while industrial production missed estimates.
Elsewhere, the Australian dollar shrugged off a bullish assessment of the economy from the central bank that was tempered by a continuing benign inflation outlook. The economy this year is expected to grow faster than its speed limit, with inflation just above the bottom of its target, the Reserve Bank of Australia said in minutes of its April policy meeting.
Here’s what to watch out for this week:
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Morgan Stanley among companies reporting results
John Williams, soon to be president of the New York Fed, speaks on economic outlook in Madrid on Tuesday.
Trump welcomes Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday. North Korea and trade will probably be discussed.
Mining investors will get to take the pulse of the global industry this week, with Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton offering quarterly production reports.
Here are the main moves in markets:
Japan’s Topix index fell 0.2 percent as of 12:55 p.m. in Tokyo.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.3 percent.
The Kospi index slid 0.2 percent.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index slipped 0.1 percent and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.4 percent.
S&P 500 futures rose 0.3 percent. The S&P 500 Index gained 0.8 percent on Monday.
Futures on the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index were flat.
The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed near the lowest in three weeks.
The euro was little changed at $1.2379.
The pound was at $1.4336. It hit the strongest in about 22 months and close to its post-Brexit high.
The yen was at 107.08 per dollar, up less than 0.1 percent.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 2.83 percent.
Australia’s 10-year bond yield added one basis point to 2.76 percent.
Gold dropped 0.1 percent to $1,345.02 an ounce.
West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.4 percent to $66.51 a barrel after dipping 1.7 percent on Monday in the first retreat in more than a week.
LME aluminum futures retreated 0.7 percent to $2,382.50 per metric ton after advancing 5 percent to highest in more than six years.