Markets

Stocks Rise to Record; BOJ Holds Policy Before ECB: Markets Wrap

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Asian stocks climbed for a ninth straight day, spurred by fresh all-time highs for U.S. equities and as the Bank of Japan maintained its monetary policy. The Australian dollar reversed an advance that saw it jump closer to 80 U.S. cents after a jobs report.

Equities from Tokyo to Sydney climbed, with the MSCI All-Country World Index trading at a record high. With the Bank of Japan maintaining its monetary stance and pushing out its forecast for achieving its inflation target, investors’ attention now turns to the European Central Bank’s meeting on Thursday for clues on policy paths. Oil held onto gains as stockpiles decreased.

While the ECB is also forecast to keep policy on hold, a report that the bank has been examining options for asset purchases adds to speculation that Mario Draghi will concede that the time is approaching to adjust the bond-buying program as the economic recovery expands.

Meanwhile, U.S. benchmark bond yields are falling this week and the dollar is weaker as investors pare expectations for progress on President Donald Trump’s agenda that may have given the economy a boost. Amid fiscal uncertainty, markets have trimmed U.S. interest rate-increase expectations for the Federal Reserve to less than 50 percent by year-end despite assertions from policy makers that another hike seemed appropriate.

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Here are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • Japan’s Topix index rose 0.7 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index climbed 0.6 percent.
  • Hong Kong’s the Hang Seng Index added 0.3 percent, while the Shanghai Composite Index was little changed.
  • S&P 500 futures were little changed after the underlying gauge rose 0.5 percent to a record 2,473.83 on Wednesday.
  • The VIX index closed below 10 for a record fifth consecutive day.

Currencies and bonds

  • The Aussie traded at 79.37 U.S. cents. It jumped after a characteristically volatile monthly jobs report for June showed a surge in full-time employment. It’s the best-performing G-10 currency this year, having climbed more than 10 percent.
  • The yen traded at 112.08 per dollar.

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