5/11/2016, 8:11 AM (Source: TeleTrader)
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Yen's rebound mutes advance in stocks in Japan

Markets in Asia-Pacific mostly strengthened on Wednesday but lost strength late in the session, while the yen sprung back a bit higher following two sessions of strong declines against the dollar. Traders are looking for signals whether appreciation in Japan's currency from February is sharp enough for interventions by the government and the central bank. Another issue on the table is the uncertainty over the announced sales tax hike, scheduled for April next year, and how it would affect the fragile economy.

The Nikkei 225 index reversed gains, stepping 0.1% into negative territory minutes prior to close. Sectors of telecommunications and car manufacturing had driven the rally, while the resources pack dropped. Premier Shinzo Abe's cabinet today released preliminary findings of its Leading Economic Index survey for March, revealing a decline in the leading gauge from 98.9 to 98.4 points. The coincident indicator rose from 110.7 to 111.2 and the lagging index lost 1.8 points to land at 102.

New Zealand market's NZX 50 index finished 0.51% in the green, maintaining a rising trend from February. The central bank's governor Graeme Wheeler said earlier today there is no timetable for an otherwise serious intention to limit lending in a way to stop the overheating in the housing market, driven by a large part with the weak supply of affordable homes in Auckland. On the other hand, slow inflation may cause further cuts in the benchmark interest rate. The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand (Reinz) said house sales volume and prices jumped to record last month on a yearly basis, by 18.4% and 7.7%, respectively,. The report also cites a fall in availability of property for sale.

Over in Australia, seasonally adjusted volume of home loans fell 0.2% in March while the number of contracts dropped by 0.9%, the national statistics bureau said. At the same time, the volume of fixed housing loans grew 1.5%, after advancing 4.1% in the previous month. Westpac's consumer confidence measure grew 8.5% in May, bolstered mostly by a cut in the benchmark interest rate, after falling 4% in the previous month. The S&P/ASX 200 added 0.48% at 8:10 a.m. CET.

The yen strengthened 0.62% at 8:10 a.m. CET against the dollar. The Australian currency fell 0.48% against the Japanese counterpart and 0.2% versus the franc, while the New Zealand dollar rose 0.68% compared to the greenback.


Image: Beta/AP

Baha Breaking News (BBN) / IT