Greater China markets bucked declines in most Asian markets to post slight gains on Wednesday as investors digested Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's overnight speech and as North Korea tensions took a backseat.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 slid 0.35 percent despite the weaker yen as automakers, financials and trading houses pulled back.
the Korean Strait, the Kospi wavered around the flat line. The index
traded 0.06 percent lower despite most tech stocks eking out gains after
falling in the last session: Samsung Electronics rose 0.46 percent and
SK Hynix added 0.49 percent. Most manufacturing names saw declines. The
tech-heavy Kosdaq, however, rose 1.22 percent.
the S&P/ASX 200 came under pressure. The index traded lower by 0.17
percent with the information technology and telecommunication services
sub-indexes leading losses.
Greater China markets posted
moderate gains. Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index rose 0.44 percent. On the
mainland, the Shanghai Composite inched higher by 0.03 percent and the
Shenzhen Composite advanced 0.568 percent.
Fed Chair Janet
Yellen's speech on Tuesday was regarded as slightly hawkish by market
watchers after she said the central bank had to continue raising
interest rates gradually in the face of "significant uncertainties."
Yellen also acknowledged that the Fed may have "misjudged" the strength
in the labor market and inflation, suggesting the central bank could be
more dovish in removing policy accommodation than previously expected.
think that what she did was really an extension of what she did last
week after the post-FOMC Q&A, which is to say, drive home the idea
that we believe in the idea of a hike in December, and we believe in the
idea of three hikes next year," Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at
RBC Capital Markets, told CNBC's "The Rundown."
probability of at least one more rate hike by the end of the year stood
at 77.9 percent on Wednesday, according to the CME Group's FedWatch
The greenback held onto most overnight gains after
touching a one-month high overnight following Yellen's comments. The
dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of rival
currencies, stood at 93.096 at 12:48 p.m. HK/SIN after reaching as high
as 93.286 overnight. That compared with levels at the 92 handle earlier
The dollar also clawed back gains against the
Japanese currency to fetch 112.32 yen. The U.S. currency had traded
around the 111 handle during Asian trade on Tuesday after North Korea
accused President Donald Trump of declaring war.
investors awaited headlines on U.S. tax reform, which is expected to be
unveiled on Wednesday U.S. time. Trump reportedly backs those tax
reforms following the failure of the latest Republican attempt to repeal
the Affordable Care Act.
Getting tax reform done right would
add approximately $3 trillion in federal government revenue in the next
decade, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told CNBC on Tuesday.
news related to the hermit state, the U.S. Treasury Department on
Tuesday put sanctions on North Korean-linked banks and persons. The
sanctions aimed to curb financial support for the North's weapons
program. Trump said on Tuesday that the U.S. was "totally prepared" to
use the military option against the North, although that was not its
preferred choice, Reuters said.
U.S. stocks closed mixed on
Tuesday. The Dow Jones industrial average slipped 0.05 percent, or 11.77
points, to close at 22,284.32, but the S&P 500 and tech-heavy
Nasdaq finished slightly higher.
In corporate news, Alibaba
affiliate Ant Financial will form a joint venture with Hong Kong's CK
Hutchison to manage its payments services in Hong Kong, Reuters said.
The agreement is likely to be completed by year-end, Reuters added.
Shares of CK Hutchison were up 0.5 percent.
Shares of Wanda
Hotel Development soared 12.34 percent after Reuters reported the
company said it was acquiring Wanda Hotel Management from Dalian Wanda
In currencies, the euro extended losses
after falling to its lowest levels in a month overnight, trading at
$1.1781 at 12:47 p.m. HK/SIN. The common currency had slid following a
weekend election in Germany, which delivered Chancellor Angela Merkel a
fourth term, but also a need to form a coalition.
strength overnight also owes something to further pressure on the euro,
linked to Sunday's German election results and with an eye to an
'illegal' referendum on Catalonia independence this weekend and then
looking ahead, Italian elections next year," said Ray Attrill, head of
FX strategy at National Australia Bank.
On the energy front,
oil prices edged up after falling overnight. Brent crude tacked on 0.34
percent to trade at $58.64 a barrel and U.S. crude advanced 0.25 percent
to $52.13. Prices had touched 26-month highs in the previous session
after Turkey on Monday warned it could curb oil exports from Iraq to the
rest of the world.
In economic news, profits made by Chinese
industrial companies in August rose 24 percent compared a year earlier,
Reuters said. That was above the 16.5 percent rise seen in July.