Asian Stock Market: Japan off adds to sluggish move ahead of Powell speech

  • Asian equities trade mixed as risk-on mood awaits Fed’s Powell.
  • Australia’s Melbourne, Japan’s Tokyo push for further unlocks after the UK and Israel.
  • Aussie trade figures, Moody’s update on Victoria and hints of Chinese recovery entertain traders amid a light calendar.

Asian shares struggle to magnify market optimism as a lack of major catalysts, amid Japan’s holiday, during the early Tuesday. Also restricting the market moves could be the cautious sentiment ahead of Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s bi-annual testimony.

Even so, hopes of China’s economic recovery and strength of the bond yields challenge equity flows amid reflation risks. Also on the challenging side could be the latest strength in the commodities as well as the US stimulus gridlock.

Against this backdrop, MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan print 0.33% intraday gains by press time. On the same line, Australia’s ASX 200 rise 0.70% as Moody’s downgrade Victoria following Fitch’s negative outlook for the Pacific major. It seems that the unlock chatters over Melbourne played their role even as Aussie exports tumbled in January.

Stocks in China trade mixed whereas Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rises 1.20% amid covid vaccine optimism. Elsewhere, South Korea’s KOSPI benefited from upbeat Consumer Sentiment data at home whereas markets in Indonesia and India remain lackluster but mildly up as the global covid wave ebbs amid steady vaccinations.

It’s worth mentioning that S&P 500 Futures snap five-day losses to print mild gains while WTI and Gold stay strong by press time. Further, the US dollar index (DXY) wavers around a six-week low by press time.

Read: S&P 500 Futures snap five-day downtrend ahead of Powell speech

Moving on, the UK’s employment report for January may entertain short-term traders but sluggish moves are likely to extend ahead of Powell’s testimony. Although reflation fears are likely to stop the Fed Chief from keeping its cautious optimism, surprises can’t be ruled out.

Read: Dollar outlook: How will surging treasury yields affect Powell’s testimony

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