Asia-Pacific stocks mixed as investors watch U.S. Treasury yields

SINGAPORE — Shares in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade as investors monitor moves in U.S. Treasury yields.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced 0.2% while mainland Chinese stocks edged higher, with the Shanghai composite rising fractionally and the Shenzhen component climbed 0.105%.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 fell 0.65% while the Topix index declined 0.35%. Markets in Japan were closed on Tuesday for a holiday. South Korea’s Kospi advanced 0.23%.

Elsewhere in Asia, the Straits Times index in Singapore gained 0.33%.

Singapore’s economy grew 7.1% in the third quarter as compared with a year ago, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry. It was higher than an earlier official advance estimate for 6.5% year-on-year growth.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.14%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific outside Japan traded little changed.

The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yield has climbed since President Joe Biden announced his renomination of Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chair. It last sat at 1.6582%, compared with levels around 1.55% seen earlier in the week.

In other central bank developments, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand on Wednesday announced its decision to raise the official cash rate to 0.75%, in line with expectations of most economists in a Reuters poll.

“The Committee agreed it remains appropriate to continue reducing monetary stimulus so as to maintain price stability and support maximum sustainable employment,” the New Zealand central bank said in a release. “The Committee noted that further removal of monetary policy stimulus is expected over time given the medium term outlook for inflation and employment.”

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Following the RBNZ’s announcement, the New Zealand dollar traded at $0.6924 as compared with levels around $0.7 seen earlier in the week.

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The rise in Treasury yields has weighed on technology stocks on Wall Street, with the Nasdaq Composite falling 0.5% overnight stateside to 15,775.14. Higher rates are often seen as a negative for high-growth firms in sectors like tech as their future earnings look less attractive against a backdrop of rising short-term yields.

Meanwhile, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 194.55 points to 35,813.80 while the S&P 500 climbed about 0.17% to 4,690.70.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 96.553 following its climb earlier in the week from below 96.4.

The Japanese yen traded at 115.16 per dollar, having weakened from below 114.5 against the greenback earlier this week. The Australian dollar was at $0.7216, still off levels above $0.73 seen last week.

Oil prices were lower in the morning of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures down 0.3% to $82.06 per barrel. U.S. crude futures shed 0.1% to $78.42 per barrel.


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