Asia morning update

Indices traded flat and US bond yields lowered while the US dollar index edged up higher overnight.

Price ticker board
Source: Bloomberg

It can be a perplexing situation in the market at the moment, especially with sentiment driving a large part of market movements. For Asian markets, however, it could be a day of reversal.

The US dollar index softened overnight to the lowest level since mid-November 2016 at 98.858 before recovering to trade at 99.250 levels into Asia morning. USD/JPY was seen at $110.80 levels this morning, bouncing ahead of the $110.00 handle.

The reversal certainly makes for an interesting development for markets. Although the healthcare reform vote had failed, the market had likely recognised that the retention of the current plan would mean the avoidance of a mild fiscal shock to the economy. Reform proposals by the new administration had circled plans to cut back on healthcare spending, which in turn would mean a lower contribution by the segment towards Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The alleviation of the initial gloom can be seen via equity markets as well. A breakdown by sectors on the S&P 500 index presented a recovering healthcare sector, which had risen 0.36% on Monday. Markets appear to find the current arrangement palatable, though one would still note that the overall index remain in a mild red at -0.10%, printing a third consecutive session of decline. Indeed, the trend in US treasury yields certainly appear to reflect this cautiousness within the market as well.

Asian markets had taken a hit on Monday, sliding across the board with the MSCI Asia Pacific index closing -0.40%. Questions were raised as to what the waning of bullish sentiment in the US might mean for Asian equities. Certainly, one would find it hard to distil the impact of the Trump-inspired optimism from the impact of the global reflation trade upon regional bourses. The easing of bearish sentiment overnight nevertheless bodes well for Asian markets and have already sent futures higher in Asia.

Early movers in Asia, the Nikkei 225 and KOSPI 200, were both seen with gains this morning. Better-than-expected revision to Q4 2016 GDP from South Korea had also helped to boost the KOSPI 200 this morning. A quiet day is expected for Asia, but the US session brings a series of Federal Reserve speakers once again including Fed chair Janet Yellen. US February wholesale inventories, March conference board consumer confidence index are also expected in the day.

Yesterday: S&P 500 -0.10%; DJIA -0.22%; DAX -0.57%; FTSE -0.59%

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