By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian stock markets lagged on Thursday as US equity futures rose to yet another record after the Federal Reserve underscored its commitment to maintaining a very flexible policy even as the economy enjoys quick recovery. MSCI’s broader Asia-Pacific equity index outside of Japan was flat, also changing little over the week. It lost 0.3% and Chinese blue chips 0.1%, with a very moderate trade. The outperformance of the US economy helped add 0.3% to a new high, while Nasdaq futures gained 0.4%. EUROSTOXX 50 futures consolidated 0.2% and futures 0.3%. Minutes from the latest Federal Reserve policy meeting showed members felt the economy was still well below target and were in no rush to cut their $ 120 billion a month in bond purchases. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at an IMF event later Thursday and is likely to reiterate the dovish outlook. “This discussion is consistent with our view that it will be at the end of this year before the Fed starts talking about phasing out, and real changes in buying pace will not occur until the first quarter of 2022,” analysts said. by JPMorgan (NYSE :). “Fed officials generally saw the recent rise in long-term Treasury yields as a reflection of a better outlook and some firmness in inflation expectations, and not a risk to the outlook.” Since then, 10-year Treasury yields have fallen slightly to 1.667%, from the recent 14-month high of 1.776%, but have struggled to fall below 1.59%. The pullback coincided with a drop to 92,444, from its recent five-month high at 93,439. The dollar was also holding at 109.78 yen, having faded from its recent year high of 110.96. The euro held steady at $ 1.1868, after hitting $ 1.1914 overnight following a surprisingly upbeat survey of business activity in the European Union. “The virus’s improvement and growth expectations have boosted consumer and business confidence, boosting domestic and global demand for manufactured goods,” analysts at Barclays (LON 🙂 said in a note. “This phenomenon has a broad base in European economies.” In commodity markets, gold was sluggish at $ 1,736 an ounce after encountering resistance around $ 1,745. Oil prices fell but were still within a narrow trading range that has held for the past two weeks. [O/R] It fell 38 cents to $ 62.78 a barrel, while it lost 40 cents to $ 59.36 a barrel. (Additional information from Chibuike Oguh; edited by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)
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