Asian Shares Mostly Higher After Powell's Comments On Rate Hikes

Asian shares ended Monday’s session mostly higher, with U.S. debt-ceiling discussions, dovish comments from Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Sino-American ties in focus.

U.S. lawmakers will continue with negotiations today to increase the country’s debt limit and avert a crisis until after the 2024 presidential election.

The dollar edged lower and bond yields dipped after Powell said on Friday it is still unclear if U.S. interest rates will need to rise further.

U.S. President Joe Biden told reporters at the G7 summit in Japan on Sunday that he expects there to soon be improvements in the U.S.-China relationship.

Chinese shares eked out modest gains after Biden said he expected ties with China to improve “very shortly.”

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4 percent to 3,296.47, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index jumped 1.2 percent to 19,678.17.

Japanese shares rose for an eighth consecutive session and the yen weakened after dovish comments by BOJ Governor Kazuo.

Investors shrugged off data showing that Japan’s core machinery orders fell in March for a second straight month.

The Nikkei 225 Index rallied 0.9 percent to 31,086.82, marking its highest close since July 1990 and the longest winning streak since April 2023. The broader Topix settled 0.7 percent higher at 2,175.90.

Tokio Marine Holdings jumped 5.7 percent after announcing a share buyback. Peer MS&AD Insurance advanced 1.7 percent.

Seoul stocks gained for a sixth straight session on hopes for a U.S. debt ceiling deal. The Kospi edged up 0.8 percent to 2,557.08 on foreign and institutional buying. Leading battery maker LG Energy Solution rose 1.5 percent and steelmaker Posco Holdings added 1.2 percent.

Australian markets ended a tad lower, with financials and gold miners leading losses. Payments terminal firm Tyro Payments slumped 16.6 percent after private equity firm Potential Capital abandoned takeover talks with the company.

Tech stocks surged, with accounting software provider Xero rising 1.4 percent.

The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index dipped 0.2 percent to 7,263.30, while the broader All Ordinaries Index closed 0.3 percent lower at 7,450.70.

Across the Tasman, New Zealand’s benchmark S&P/NZX-50 Index slumped 0.9 percent to 11,993.

U.S. stocks ended lower on Friday after rising sharply over the two previous sessions.

Concerns around the economy deepened after Republican negotiators walked out of a meeting over raising the U.S. debt ceiling and Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that inflation continued to be “far above” the central bank’s target.

Regional bank stocks fell after Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen reportedly told executives that more mergers may be necessary.

The Dow shed 0.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite eased 0.2 percent and the S&P 500 edged down 0.1 percent.

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