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Asia stocks gain, yen whipsaws before BOJ decision: markets wrap

Asia stocks gain, yen whipsaws before BOJ decision: markets wrap
Stock price information displayed in the lobby of the Euronext NV stock exchange in Paris, France, on Wednesday, 14 December 2022. (Photo: Nathan Laine/Bloomberg)

Shares in Asia rallied after robust technology earnings bolstered Wall Street. The yen whipsawed before the first Bank of Japan policy decision under its new governor.

Equities in Japan, Australia, South Korea and China all advanced following the best day for the S&P 500 since the first week of the year and a 2.8% jump for the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100.

Still, those gains began to erode in early Asian trading. US futures were broadly lower after warned of a slowdown in revenue growth for its cloud computing business.

The yen swung between gains and losses following a Nikkei report that said the BOJ will tweak its forward guidance and examine the effects of monetary easing in its policy decision Friday. The central bank isn’t likely to revise its yield-curve-control policy, the Nikkei said, without any attribution.

Treasuries stabilised in Asia after sliding on Thursday when the US economy showed a surprise increase in inflation pressure during the first quarter. The Federal Reserve is forecast to raise interest rates by a quarter percentage point when it meets next week.

In Asia, investors prepared for earnings reports from some of the largest Chinese lenders including Bank of China, China Citic Bank Corp and Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd.

Chinese banks are “macro proxy so this year, if China’s GDP is going to have a modest acceleration, bank earnings growth will probably have room for upside as well,” Winnie Wu, China equity strategist for Bank of America Securities, said in an interview with Bloomberg Television.

Thursday’s rally for US equities reflected positive corporate reports from mega-cap tech companies including Meta Platforms Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft Corp, while Intel Corp. shares advanced in post-market trading after releasing results late on Thursday.

“We certainly see big tech do well in earnings but we’re also seeing quite a lot of other companies that are slowing down,” Laila Pence, president of Pence Wealth Management, said on Bloomberg Television.

The latest batch of US economic data — including a slowdown in US jobless claims — showed the kind of cognitive dissonance investors have been grappling with, said Dana Peterson, chief economist at The Conference Board.

“Typically when you have recessions, the labor market collapses with GDP, and we’re not seeing that,” Peterson said. “We’re probably going to dip into a recession, maybe starting right now in the second quarter, but we really need to see data.”

Elsewhere, oil was little changed after wiping out all the gains from OPEC+’s surprise production cut at the beginning of the month. The dollar and gold were little changed, while Bitcoin slipped further away from the $30,000 level. BM/DM


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