Some officials signaled they’d be open at some point to discussing scaling back the central bank’s bond purchases
Wall Street stocks closed lower and Treasury yields rose overnight as minutes showed Federal Reserve officials were cautiously optimistic about the U.S. recovery at their April meeting. Of note, some officials signaled they’d be open at some point to discussing scaling back the central bank’s bond purchases. A hawkish hint sent stocks lower at the close. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.48%, the Nasdaq shed less than 0.1%, and the S&P 500 dropped 0.3%.
Today in Asia, stocks were mixed after benchmarks closed broadly lower on Wall Street, as investors weighed Federal Reserve minutes. The Nikkei 225 regained lost ground, edging 0.2% higher after the government reported that exports rose 38% in April from a year earlier while imports climbed nearly 13%. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 surged 1.27%. In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng skidded 0.42% while the Shanghai Composite slipped 0.18%. Seoul’s Kospi declined 0.35%.
In currencies, the greenback rose sharply as the Federal Reserve delivered a hawkish hint on the outlook for its monetary policy. EURUSD dipped from fresh multi-week highs around 1.2245 down to 1.2170. However, the pair managed to bounce and was seen just below the 1.2200 figure ahead of the opening bell in Europe.
Meanwhile, oil edged up earlier in the day on Thursday after slumping to the lowest in three weeks with traders also concerned about growing supply from the U.S. and Iran. Brent crude dipped to the $65.20 area before bouncing above $66. As the recovery has stalled, the futures came back under pressure and were last seen targeting the $65 handle again.
In other markets, digital currencies fell sharply after China’s banking association issued a warning Wednesday over the risks associated with digital currencies. Bitcoin’s price dipped briefly under the $30,000 figure before rebounding to the $40,000 area, still well below its all-time high of over $64,800 reached a month ago. Other cryptocurrencies held double-digit percentage losses.