Europe Futures, Asia Stocks Rise as Banks Rebound:
- A gauge of the greenback heads for a second day of declines
- Financial firms rallied on Wall Street; Tech shares declined
European futures advanced along with Asian equities and the dollar traded lower as fears of broader contagion from the banking turmoil eased.
Euro Stoxx 50 contracts climbed 0.4% and a gauge of Asian shares advanced 0.8%, with benchmark indexes rising in Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea and Australia. Futures for US stocks showed small gains.
Traders have been cautiously inching toward a risk-on posture as jitters in the banking sector subside. Financial firms were among the best performers in Asia on Tuesday after the sector led the way on Wall Street on Monday. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 ended the session 0.7% lower, capping a two-week advance.
The two-year Treasury yield slipped back below the 4% level in Asia trading after surging 23 basis points Monday. Sentiment from the US session flowed across to trading in Australia and New Zealand, where rates on government debt climbed.
A gauge of dollar strength fell for a second day. The yen strengthened after Japan’s cabinet approved the use of some funds from the fiscal 2022 budget for measures to cushion the impact of inflation.
Meanwhile, swaps traders priced in about a 50% probability that the Federal Reserve will lift rates by a quarter point at its next gathering. They continue to expect sharp easing thereafter, with pricing suggesting the policy rate will slide to around 4.2% in December, down from around 4.9% in May.
Not all agree.
“We see major central banks moving away from a ‘whatever it takes’ approach, stopping their hikes and entering a more nuanced phase that’s less about a relentless fight against inflation but still one where they can’t cut rates,” strategists at BlackRock Investment Institute, including Wei Li and Alex Brazier, wrote in a note.
Some investors in the market remain on the lookout for signals of a recession later this year as the Fed and other central banks could be forced to implement higher-for-longer rate hikes to tame inflation.
JPMorgan’s chief strategist Marko Kolanovic said the first quarter “will likely mark the high point for equities this year,” recommending investors stay defensive in a research note.
“We view the most vulnerable areas as unprofitable companies that depend on steady flow of equity capital to fund operations and tight carry trades implemented over the last 10 to 20 years,” Kolanovic wrote.
One of Wall Street’s most prominent bears, Morgan Stanley strategist Michael Wilson was also cautious on stocks, saying earnings estimates and valuations need to come down.
Elsewhere in markets, Asian shares related to digital currencies fell in the wake of Bitcoin’s drop. The token fell 2.7% Monday after the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission sued Binance Holdings Ltd. for allegedly breaking trading and derivatives rules. Bitcoin dropped slightly on Tuesday.
Oil steadied after posting the biggest daily rally since October when it rose by around 5% on Monday. Gold fluctuated.