SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian equities got some welcome relief on Wednesday after upbeat U.S. earnings reports drove a rebound on Wall Street and helped restore a little faith in emerging market stocks and currencies.
FILE PHOTO: A man in a business building is reflected on an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Japan’s Nikkei galloped out of the gates with a rise of 1.7 percent, but still has a way to go to recoup the past week’s losses.
“The Nikkei appears to have bottomed out,” said Soichiro Monji, senior economist at Daiwa SB Investments.
“The latest tumble was not driven by convincing factors – the market may have needed to adjust after its sharp rally and upcoming corporate earnings should provide evidence of solid economic fundamentals.”
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.7 percent and South Korea 1.2 percent, while spreadbetters pointed to opening gains for the major European bourses.
Chinese blue chips, however, lagged with a gain of only 0.2 percent and threatened to sour the mood.
On Wall Street, the three major indexes had tallied their biggest one-day percentage gains since March. The Dow jumped 2.17 percent, while the S&P 500 climbed 2.15 percent and the Nasdaq 2.89 percent. [.N]
Netflix Inc shot 12 percent higher after the close as its results far outstripped market expectations with 7 million streaming customers added.
The blockbuster outcome sent shares of Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc up about 1 percent in extended trade.
The four make up the so-called FANG group of high-growth companies that in recent months has lost some of its momentum following market-leading gains in recent years.
“Most have blamed last week’s volatility spike on the systematic funds liquidating positions, as the short volatility trade unwound rapidly,” said Chris Weston, head of research at broker Peppertsone.
“This, in turn, has allowed traders to re-focus away from the macro toward micro, and, predictably, solid U.S. corporate earnings.”
The U.S. economic news was also robust, notably a sharp rise in job openings to a fresh all-time high.
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All this cheer favored beaten-down currencies in emerging markets while taking some steam out of the safe-haven yen. The MSCI Emerging Market Currency Index rose for a third straight session.
The latest survey of global fund managers by BofA Merrill Lynch found they saw emerging market currencies as the most undervalued ever against the U.S. dollar.
The dollar itself was up on the yen at 112.35 but flat on the euro at $1.1570. Against a basket of currencies, the dollar idled at 95.123 having touched a two-week trough overnight.
Not helping the dollar was fresh criticism of the Federal Reserve from U.S. President Donald Trump, who told Fox Business Network: “My biggest threat is the Fed.”
Trump has recently castigated the central bank for raising interest rates.
“While such name calling shouldn’t mean anything in terms of what the Fed actually does, it is a factor which somewhat undermines sentiment toward the dollar,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at NAB.
“It’s a contributory factor, albeit minor, to recent poor performance of the U.S. dollar.”
Minutes of the last Fed meeting are due out later Wednesday and expected to show policy makers remain committed to further gradual tightening.
In commodity markets, gold held at $1,221.11 and just short of recent 11-week highs.
Oil prices edged up as industry data showed a surprise decline in U.S. crude inventories. There was also a risk that crude supply from the Middle East could be disrupted by looming U.S. sanctions on Iran and growing tensions with top exporter Saudi Arabia.
U.S. crude rose 9 cents to $72.01, while Brent crude added 4 cents to $81.45 a barrel.
Editing by Shri Navaratnam and Sam Holmes