Asian Markets Waver Despite Strong U.S. Earnings – 17 January 2019

Asian markets were trading mixed on Thursday afternoon, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 and the Shenzhen Composite trading lower, and most other regional benchmark indexes heading higher, despite strong earnings in the United States on Wednesday that sent Wall Street indexes to one-month highs on Wednesday. The gains on Wall Street were led by the banking sector, where Bank of America gained 7.2 percent and Goldman Sachs surged over 9 percent.

Wednesday’s gains brought the S&P within striking range of its 50-day moving average. The Nasdaq crossed this important technical level on Tuesday.

Still, Asian markets were unable to ride the wave of gains, with investors still concerned about China’s continuing economic problems, based both on slow growth and the continuing trade tensions between Beijing and Washington. Beijing is trying to reduce the country’s debt and the clout of the central bank, but these efforts have strained the country’s economy.The upcoming Chinese New Year, which historically brings higher levels of unemployment, is also putting the country under additional economic stress. In the past several weeks efforts to staunch the damage have included tax cuts and economic stimulus, but they have thus far had little impact. Chinese economic growth is expected to slow 6.3 percent in 2019.

Currency Movements

The dollar index was modestly higher on Thursday, up 0.08 percent to 96.14 .DXY as of 2:08 p.m. HK/SIN. The greenback gained against the euro and the pound, trading at $1.1385 and $1.287 respectively, but it eased against the yen to trade down 0.15 percent to 108.92.

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