Asian equities looked poised for a steady start Tuesday with U.S. stocks near record highs as investors eye the start of the corporate earnings season and relatively smooth sales of government debt.
Futures were little changed in Japan and pointed higher in Hong Kong and Australia. U.S. equity contracts fluctuated after the S&P 500 closed a touch lower following three straight weeks of gains. Tech shares weakened, led by Intel Corp. as Nvidia Corp. homed in on its microprocessors market.
Bond yields rose only slightly as the U.S. Treasury’s auctions of three- and 10-year notes attracted decent demand. The government offers 30-year bonds Tuesday.
A positive outlook for U.S. growth should help corporate earnings, though setbacks persist with Covid-19 cases spiking in parts of the world and troubled vaccine rollouts. The risks of higher inflation and borrowing costs are also top of mind, with investors monitoring the latest U.S. consumer prices data and the strength of demand at the remaining Treasury bond auction Tuesday.
“The real test is going to be when inflation starts to move higher,” said Priya Misra, global head of rates strategy at TD Securities on Bloomberg TV. “That’s when rates will have to reprice — either for a sooner Fed exit, or a later exit but a faster path.”
Elsewhere, President Joe Biden told companies vying for a tightly constrained global supply of semiconductors that he has bipartisan support for government funding to address a shortage that has idled automakers worldwide. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen will decline to name China as a currency manipulator in her first semiannual foreign-exchange report, according to people familiar with the matter, allowing the U.S. to sidestep a fresh clash with Beijing.
Oil edged up and the dollar was little changed. Bitcoin neared an all-time high before a listing by the largest U.S. cryptocurrency exchange.
Some key events to watch this week:
- Banks and financial firms begin reporting first-quarter earnings, including JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Bank of America Corp., Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
- The U.S. releases inflation data Tuesday.
- Chinese trade data are scheduled for Tuesday.
- Economic Club of Washington hosts Fed Chair Jerome Powell for a moderated Q&A on Wednesday.
- U.S. Federal Reserve releases Beige Book on Wednesday.
- U.S. data including initial jobless claims, industrial production and retail sales come Thursday.
- China economic growth, industrial production and retail sales figures are on Friday.
These are some of the main moves in financial markets:
- S&P 500 futures were flat as of 7:50 a.m. in Tokyo. The index was little changed Monday.
- Nikkei 225 futures dipped 0.2%.
- Hang Seng futures rose 0.1% earlier.
- S&P/ASX 200 futures were 0.2% higher.
- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was steady.
- The yen was at 109.39 per dollar.
- The euro was at $1.1912.
- The offshore yuan was at 6.5498 per dollar.
- The yield on 10-year Treasuries edged up one basis point to 1.67%.
- West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.3% to $59.88 a barrel.
- Gold was at $1,732.46 an ounce.
— With assistance by Vildana Hajric, and Claire Ballentine