GLOBAL MARKETS-Asia stocks slip, dollar climbs as Fed rate path pondered

BY Reuters | ECONOMIC | 05/08/24 02:05 AM EDT

(Updates prices as of 0540 GMT)

By Kevin Buckland

TOKYO, May 8 (Reuters) - Asian stocks slipped on Wednesday, while the dollar climbed despite lower U.S. Treasury yields as markets assessed mixed signals from U.S. policymakers and economic data on the path for Federal Reserve interest rates.

The yen sank even with the threat of currency intervention from Japanese authorities to support it.

Crude oil wallowed near two-month lows amid signs of easing supply pressure and continued hopes for a Middle East ceasefire.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slid 0.4%, with mainland Chinese blue chips and Hong Kong's Hang Seng each down about 0.6%.

Japan's Nikkei slumped about 1.4% as traders took profits following the previous session's 1.6% surge. The tech-heavy index also succumbed to pressure from a sell-off in U.S. chip stocks on Tuesday.

U.S. stock futures were flat, while German DAX futures lost 0.1% and Britain's FTSE futures added 0.15%.

The yen dropped 0.34% to 155.215 per dollar, even as Japan's Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki expressed deep concern over the negative impact of a weak currency and reiterated a readiness to respond to excessive volatility.

The U.S. dollar index - which measures the currency against the yen, euro, sterling and three other major peers - rose 0.14% to 105.57, adding to Tuesday's 0.3% advance.

The euro edged down 0.12% to $1.07325 and sterling lost 0.18% to $1.24865.

On Tuesday, Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari suggested the U.S. central bank may need to forgo interest rate cuts this year due to stubborn inflation.

Last week, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said the wait to loosen policy is taking longer than anticipated, but signalled his inclination is still to cut.

And while prices have been sticky, the labour market showed some signs of weakening in the monthly payrolls data from Friday. The next major data point will be consumer prices in a week from now.

"Debate continues within markets and amongst policymakers about the appropriate level for interest rates," Kyle Rodda, senior financial markets analyst at Capital.com, wrote in a report.

"A lack of major U.S. economic data in the days ahead (means) there was little to position for or react to," he added. "For now, the markets see marginally higher chances for two cuts in the U.S. this year, with the first fully baked in for November."

U.S. long-term Treasury yields stood at 4.47% in Asian trading, after dipping to a nearly one-month low of 4.42% on Tuesday.

Gold slipped 0.25% to around $2,319.50 per ounce.

Crude oil extended Tuesday's declines after market sources said that data due later from the American Petroleum Institute will show a jump in U.S. crude and fuel stocks for last week, a sign of lower demand.

Meanwhile, the U.S. believes negotiations on a Gaza ceasefire should be able to close the gaps between Israel and Hamas, lessening the risks of supply disruptions.

Brent crude oil futures fell 46 cents, or 0.55%, to $82.70 a barrel. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures slid 41 cents, or 0.52%, to $77.97 a barrel.

(Reporting by Kevin Buckland; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)

In general the bond market is volatile, and fixed income securities carry interest rate risk. (As interest rates rise, bond prices usually fall, and vice versa. This effect is usually more pronounced for longer-term securities.) Fixed income securities also carry inflation risk and credit and default risks for both issuers and counterparties. Unlike individual bonds, most bond funds do not have a maturity date, so avoiding losses caused by price volatility by holding them until maturity is not possible.

Lower-quality debt securities generally offer higher yields, but also involve greater risk of default or price changes due to potential changes in the credit quality of the issuer. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to loss.

Before investing, consider the funds' investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. Contact Fidelity for a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus containing this information. Read it carefully.

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