Asian stocks up, as oil, wheat down

Asian stocks rose, with the regional index extending gains after its biggest one-day jump since June, while the Korean won climbed amid optimism geopolitical tensions are abating. Crude oil fell with wheat and corn.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed a second day, adding 0.4% by 9.56am in Tokyo following Monday’s 1.2% increase. Japan's Topix index rose 0.6%. Standard & Poor's 500 Index futures gained 0.2% after a second day of gains in the United States stock measure. The won strengthened 0.2% against the US dollar. Oil in New York fell for the first time in four days before US supplies data, while wheat retreated a fourth day and corn lost 0.4%.

Global equities are rallying, after losses last week, amid speculation the arrival of a Red Cross aid mission in eastern Ukraine may ease tensions and on optimism US airstrikes will succeed in pushing back militants in Iraq. Singapore’s economy unexpectedly expanded in the second quarter amid recoveries in developed countries. The ZEW Center for European Economic Research issues surveys of investor confidence in the euro area and Germany Tuesday, before US data on job openings in June.

"It looks like some of the geopolitical concerns are easing," Nader Naeimi, head of dynamic asset allocation at AMP Capital Investors Ltd, which manages about $131 billion, said by phone from Sydney. "Overall, it will be a good day, we should see stabilisation in the equity market and markets should be able to gain some of the lost ground."

Volatility drops

The S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 1% in Sydney, after adding 0.4% Monday, while the Kospi (KOSPI) gauge in Seoul rose 0.6%, also posting a second day of gains.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average added 0.5% after climbing 2.4% Monday, its biggest one-day gain since April. An index of volatility in Nikkei 225 stocks dropped more than 10% for a second day, declining to the lowest level on a closing basis since Aug 7. Markets in Thailand remain closed today for a holiday.

The S&P 500 rose 0.3% to 1,936.92 last session, after gaining 1.2% Aug 8, the most since March, as Russia said its warplanes had ended drills near Ukraine. Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 0.2% higher after the gauge climbed 0.1% Monday.

The MSCI All-Country World Index was 0.1% higher in early trading, after gaining 0.8% Monday, the steepest advance since April, amid a rebound in emerging-market stocks.

Aussie bonds

The won gained a third day, touching 1,028.13 per dollar, the strongest intraday level since July 31. Japan’s yen, regarded as a haven by investors, was little changed at 102.29 per dollar after losing 0.2% from a three-week high Monday.

Yields on 10-year Australian (GACGB10) government debt climbed a second day, adding one basis point, or 0.01%age point, to 3.42%. Rates surged 13 basis points Monday, the steepest daily increase since June last year. Australian house-price data and a private gauge of business sentiment are due today.

Ten-year US Treasury yields gained one basis point to 2.44% after rising the same amount in New York amid the geopolitical tensions. Rates slid to 2.35% Aug 8, the lowest level since June 2013.

As the Red Cross worked on getting aid to rebel-held areas of east Ukraine, the US warned Russia against using the mission to send in troops or military support to pro-Russia insurgents.

Situation 'critical'

The situation in the city of Luhansk and other areas encircled by government forces "is critical -- thousands of people are reported to be without access to water, electricity and medical aid," Laurent Corbaz, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross' operations for Europe, said in an e-mailed statement Monday. Still, "the practical details of this operation need to be clarified before this initiative can move forward."

The ICRC met with Ukrainian and the Russian authorities and passed on documents specifying the manner in which such an operation could take place, the Geneva-based organization said.

In the Middle East, US jets and drone aircraft hit Islamic State fighters in multiple attacks in Iraq, while Israeli and Palestinian negotiators staked out positions for a long-term agreement on the Gaza Strip amid an Egyptian-brokered truce.

Oil, crops

West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 0.2% to $97.93 a barrel, after climbing more than 1% over the past three trading days. Analysts surveyed by Bloomberg predict a US government report tomorrow will show oil inventories dropped for a seventh-straight time last week. Volumes at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI contracts, probably rose, according to the survey.

Wheat futures for December delivery dropped 0.7% to $5.5875 a bushel amid speculation US output of the grain will top government estimates. The US is the world's biggest exporter of wheat. Corn futures fell to $3.66 a bushel after gaining 1.3% Monday.

Palladium declined 0.3% to $873.70 an ounce after gaining as much as 1.9% Monday to touch the highest price since July 31. Russia is the world’s biggest producer of the precious metal.

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