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Asia Morning Update

US stocks saw some light in the early part of the session, only to be let down once again by the delay in the healthcare reform bill vote.

Source: Bloomberg

Interestingly the vote has just been postponed to Friday, which could keep markets on the edge of their seats.

A mild red was seen on the comprehensive S&P 500 index on Thursday, with relatively moderate movements across most sectors. Sentiment appears to have been a significant driver for post-election rally. The vacuum of leads from both the Federal Reserve and the highly anticipated pro-growth policies had probably awarded the healthcare reform bill vote pronounced importance in influencing trade. Certainly, the postponing of the event had reinforced some concern from the markets on the new administration’s ability to push through with their policies. The quick determination of the vote date however suggests that the results remain to be seen though the Trump administration do appear confident enough to move things with such urgency.

Thursday also saw the financial sector rising 0.22% after four consecutive sessions of losses though we have seen little coming from Fed members overnight. Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen had avoided talks on monetary policy and economic conditions altogether, exercising little sway upon the markets. Notably however, Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan’s comments this morning focused on stronger economic conditions, urging the Fed in ‘removing accommodation’. This has seen the USD index pick up slightly, and the USD/JPY up slightly from the $111.00 trade overnight.

Perhaps a proxy for Asia, the meeting between the leaders of China and Australia appear to have injected positive sentiment for the region. The ASX 200 was up more than 1.0% when last checked at 8.30am (Singapore time) with broad gains across sectors. The Nikkei 225 meanwhile continued to reverse losses this morning, up 0.4%, underpinned by the USD/JPY movements as well. Asian markets are expected to see gains into the end of the week with US healthcare vote on the line.

The day ahead is expected to rival Thursday in the amount of items to keep watch for. Data expected from Asia includes Malaysia’s February inflation rate and Singapore’s February industrial production update. Other than the high-key healthcare vote in the US, we have February durable goods data and March Markit PMI data expected. St. Louis and New York Fed Presidents will also be on the wires today.

Yesterday: S&P 500 -0.11%; DJIA -0.02%; DAX +1.14%; FTSE +0.22%

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