Asian stock markets closed mostly higher Tuesday, with Japanese markets leading the way as solid U.S. manufacturing data helped bolstered the U.S. dollar and weaken the yen.
The Nikkei Stock Average NIK, +0.83% was up 0.8%, Korea’s Kospi SEU, +0.55% was up by 0.4% and Singapore’s FTSE Straits Times Index added 0.2%. Chinese markets are shut for the week. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index HSI, +0.28% , however, reversed early gains and end up flat.
The U.S. September purchasing managers’ index which is a key measure of factory activity—jumped to 51.5, shifting back into expansionary territory, following a surprise dip to 49.4 in August. The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of 6 major currencies, added 0.3% to 95.970 .DXY.
However, the up trend is unlikely to happen in Europe, where German markets will reopen after a holiday to rekindled fears about the stability of the country's largest lender.
U.S. stocks slumped overnight, with Deutsche Bank (DB.N) shares resuming their slide as hopes faded that the bank would reach a swift deal with the U.S. Department of Justice over a fine of up to $14 billion for mis-selling mortgage-backed securities.
Australian shares closed at 0.1% higher after Australia's central bank kept its cash rate steady at 1.5% on Tuesday, a widely expected decision as it assesses the impact of its May and August rate cuts.
The U.S. dollar retreats Thursday amid investors doubt that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates this year. In the WSJ Dollar Index (US$ vs 16 other currency) was down by 0.1% to 86.297. The dollar went down against the euro, British pound and some emerging-market currencies but was higher against the Japanese yen.
Last Wednesday, the Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged but signaled it could tighten policy in the months ahead. Still, investors remain doubtful that rates will go up this year. According to Fed officials they want to raise short-term borrowing costs but have been repeatedly stymied by turmoil in global markets and a string of soft data, from U.S. economic growth to productivity. Even though reports about the U.S. economy is in good shape and unemployment rate is falling.
The central bank also has acknowledged that rates are likely to remain lower in the future as economic growth slows, which analysts see as a negative for the dollar.
The biggest question is why there are reports that the economy is doing great and umployment rate is improving but when it comes to the Feds the sky is falling? Maybe Donald Trump is right about the Federal Reserve, doing what President Barack Obama wants by keeping interest rates low.
U.S. stocks extend gains as Nasdaq rallies to record high
U.S. stocks climbed for a third session Thursday as the Nasdaq finished at a record-high close following the Federal Reserve’s decision to keep the interest rates low. The S&P 500 rose 14 points, or 0.6%, to end at 2,177 while the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 98 points, or 0.5%, to finish at 18,391. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index advanced 44 points, or 0.8%, to close at 5,339 after touching an intra-day record of 5,342.88. The Fed on Wednesday kept rates unchanged even as Chairwoman Janet Yellen hinted that a tighter monetary policy is likely by the year end.
- U.S. jobless claims drop to two-month low
- Amazon.com hits all-time high on analyst report
- Indexes up: Dow 0.54 pct, S&P 0.65 pct, Nasdaq 0.84 pct (Updates with close of U.S. markets)
The Middle-class Americans and the poor American families have experience their first gain in eight years. The Census Bureau reported Tuesday, that the median household income rose 5.2% from a year earlier, after adjusting for inflation, or $2,800, to $56,500. The rise broke a long streak of disappointment for American workers but did not fully repair the damage inflicted by the Great Recession. The household incomes now is around 1.6% below the 2007 level, before the last recession began, and around 2.4% below the all-time high reached in 1999.
Officials at the Census Bureau said that the 5.2% growth rate was not statistically distinguishable from five other previous increases in the data over a 50-year period, most recently the 3.7 percent jump from 1997 to 1998.
There are some statistics that suggested that the year 2015 was strong for US workers. Just last week, the Agriculture Department reported their yearly data on hunger in the United States. It shows that food insecurity declined substantially last year for the first time since the recession.
Economic growth has lagged in 2016, but the labor market has remained strong, suggesting continued income gains. The unemployment rate declined to 4.9% last month. Adjusted for inflation, wages for full-time workers were up by nearly 2% in the first half of the year, compared with the same point in 2015.
The University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment index is down from last year.
Asian markets gave varied results Friday as investors awaited latest U.S. job data that could influence the Fed's interest rate policy. If there's a sooner than expected rate increase in September by the Federal Reserve, it could pull foreign capital out of emerging markets in Asia, according to analysts. Even though a December rate increase would have already been priced in by investors.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.9%, with the Nikkei Stock Average flat, and Singapore’s Straits Times Index falling 0.4%. South Korea's Kospi edged up 0.2 percent to 2,037.40. Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 0.5 percent to 23,275.83 and the Shanghai Composite Index in mainland China slipped 0.1 percent to 3,060.06. Benchmarks in Taiwan and Thailand fell while indexes in the Philippines, Indonesia and New Zealand rose.
A report on U.S. jobs due out later Friday is likely to be the big market moving event of the day, though Asian investors won't get a chance to react until next week. Economists forecast that the nonfarm payroll report will show employers added 180,000 jobs in August, according to a survey by data provider FactSet. That would be under July's 255,000 extra jobs and 292,000 in June, which was an eight-month high.
Asian Shares gave mixed results on Tuesday, as oil prices fell and the U.S. dollar weakened ahead of a key meeting of Federal Reserve officials and other central bankers later this week.
The Nikkei Stock Average lost 0.4%, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 were up by 0.8%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was down by 0.3%, while the Shanghai Composite Index gained 0.2%. The FTSE Bursa Malaysia KLCI was down 0.1%.
Crude-oil prices sank below $47 a barrel in New York overnight on skepticism the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would reach a deal to cut production, sending commodity stocks in Japan sharply lower. Oil explorer Inpex was down 1.9%, while Japan Petroleum Exploration slid 3.4%. Brent crude, the global benchmark, was recently down 1% from the previous close to $48.67 a barrel, a five-day low.
Copper three-month futures on the London Metal Exchange hovered near six-week lows, and share prices of mining companies on Australia’s benchmark index rose.
U.S. dollar slipped against other major currencies as the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note fell to 1.55% from around 1.60%. The U.S. dollar index was recently down 0.1%. The yen rose 0.1% against the dollar, adding to pressure on Japanese exporters by making them less competitive, with auto makers Honda Motor falling 2.1% and Mazda Motor shedding 3% of its value.
A lot of top retailers in the U.S. are feeling the heat, yes American consumer are still buying but they don't want to pay the full price and they want to shop at home. Legacy stores has been hit hard by this consumer shift. Macy’s, the largest department store in the U.S., announced on Thursday that they would close 100 stores. The company said that they were more valuable as real estate properties. The department store chain continues to shrink.
Well, all is not lost. Macy's has a plan and they also announced a series of strategic changes to lure shoppers. The plan includes bringing in more brand shops within the stores, improving online search and ordering and hosting in-store events to drive foot traffic.
The closure of 100 store is 15% of Macy's 675 full-line locations. It is only the latest round of closures Macy's has undertaken in recent years to rid the company of unprofitable stores. The company didn't identified the locations of stores that will close, but said they represent about $1 billion in annual sales, excluding sales the company expects to retain online or at nearby stores. That's nearly 4% of Macy's total annual sales in 2015.
Investors were happy about the latest news that send Macy's stock up 17% on Thursday to $39.81 a share, up $5.81. Still, the stock is down about 40% from its 52-week high.
Also Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, said on Monday that they would purchase a small online rival for more than $3 billion. The hope is that the deal will reverse its sputtering online growth.