Business Maverick

Business Maverick

Asia stocks rise, Apple sales weigh on US futures: markets wrap

Asia stocks rise, Apple sales weigh on US futures: markets wrap
GoldOne mine in Springs in Ekurhuleni. (Photo: Facebook / GOLD ONE MINE)

Stocks in Asia gained following further advances for US stocks and long-dated Treasuries, as investors adjusted to the prospect the Federal Reserve may be done with rate hikes.

Australian and South Korean equities rose around 1%, while China also opened higher following a 2% gain for the Golden Dragon index of US-listed Chinese companies. Markets in Japan are closed on Friday for a holiday. 

Gains in Asia followed a 1.9% rise for the S&P 500 on Thursday, its biggest one-day advance since April, placing the benchmark on track for its best week since November last year. US equity futures ticked lower in Asian trading, however, weighed down by underwhelming results for Apple Inc.

The iPhone manufacturer reported a fourth quarterly revenue decline as it grapples with a sluggish Mac market and shaky demand in China. In China, the latest private survey data showed a slower-than-expected expansion in services. 

Long-dated Treasury yields fell on Thursday. The 10-year benchmark slipped nearly eight basis points. Australian and New Zealand yields echoed the decline early on Friday. Trading in Treasuries in Asia will be closed given the holiday in Japan.

An index of the dollar was flat after weakening on Thursday. The yen was also steady after strengthening in the prior session.

UBS anticipates the 10-year Treasury yield to fall to 3.5% by June next year, as the Fed shifts its attention from rate hikes to rate cuts, according to Solita Marcelli, chief investment officer for Americas, at UBS Global Wealth Management. “The improving outlook for a softish landing for the US economy should also provide a positive backdrop for equities,” she said.

Others hold a more cautious view. Hedge fund K2 Asset Management is predicting that benchmark 10-year Treasury yields will rise back to 5% — from 4.66% — while Franklin Templeton says they could peak at 5.25% — a level last seen in 2007. Barclays Plc co-head of global markets Stephen Dainton said it is “very unlikely” the Fed is done tightening policy.

Continuing US jobless claims rose for a sixth straight week, indicating those losing their jobs are starting to have more trouble finding new ones. That data comes ahead of nonfarm payrolls figures due later on Friday.

“Friday payrolls will be critical,” said Priya Misra, portfolio manager at JPMorgan Asset Management. “If we get a weak report, rates will continue their move lower, but financial conditions may not loosen further since a recession may look more imminent. A strong report and then the market will watch the Fed nervously to see if they will react.”

In Asia, Australian third-quarter retail sales unexpectedly grew. Shares in Macquarie Group Ltd rose even as the company reported a drop in earnings. Elsewhere in the region, retail sales data for Singapore will be released as will purchasing manager index data for India.

Oil was little changed after a rally in the previous session. West Texas Intermediate, the US benchmark, traded above $82 after advancing 2.5% Thursday. Gold was steady. Bitcoin fell almost 1% after jurors delivered a guilty verdict against Sam Bankman-Friend in a criminal fraud case.

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