© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a stock listing meeting at a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan, on February 26, 2021. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon
By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian stocks were trying to avoid a fourth straight session of declines on Wednesday as US equity futures leveled off after a pullback in large-cap tech favorites. Holidays in Japan, China and South Korea helped dampen the markets, sending MSCI’s broader Asia-Pacific equity index outside of Japan up 0.1%. closed, but futures recovered initial losses to 28,850 compared to last cash close of 28,812. India’s Nifty 50 started at 0.7% ahead of a speech by the country’s central bank governor, which could include policy changes to support the pandemic-hit economy. Nasdaq futures rose 0.3% after a sharp drop overnight, while also adding 0.3%. The Nasdaq was down 1.9% on Tuesday as some of the big names in technology started to take profits, including Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ :), Alphabet (NASDAQ 🙂 Inc, Apple Inc (NASDAQ 🙂 and Amazon.com Inc (NASDAQ :). () The extended valuations were tested when US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said that rate hikes might be necessary to stop the economy from overheating. He later recalled the comments, but reminded investors that rates would have to go up at some point in the future. “Moderate inflation and a slow-moving Fed would continue to be supportive, but inflation and a reactive Fed may prove negative to valuations,” said Tapas Strickland, chief economics officer at NAB. “Either way, yields and stocks are likely to be in a dance as much better-than-expected economic data continues to defy central bank rate guidance.” One such challenge looms on Friday when US payroll data is forecast to show a sharp rise to 978,000, while some estimates hit 2.1 million. So far, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has argued that the job market is still a long way from where it needs to be to start talking about a gradual reduction in asset purchases. Minneapolis Fed Bank Chairman Neel Kashkari, a notable pigeon, said Tuesday that it could take a few years for the economy to return to full employment. The Fed’s dogged patience allowed yields on US 10-year notes to slide to 1.59% from last week’s high of 1.69%, although the market has struggled to break below 1 , 53%. The mere mention of higher US rates was enough to help the dollar rebound a bit from its recent losses. The euro fell back to $ 1.2020 and threatened to break a major chart support in the $ 1.1995 / 1.2000 zone. A breakout would open the way to a retracement target at $ 1.1923. The dollar held at 109.27 yen, having avoided resistance at 109.61. Against a basket of currencies, the dollar was down a bit to 91,180 but held slightly above the recent two-month low of 90,422. The New Zealand dollar rose to $ 0.7173 as local employment data came out stronger than expected. In commodity markets, palladium soared to a record high on concerns about short supplies of the metal used in emission control devices in cars. [GOL/] Gold lagged $ 1,783 an ounce. Oil prices rose to seven-week peaks as more countries opened their borders to travelers, improving prospects for demand for gasoline and jet fuel. [O/R] it added 54 cents to $ 69.42 a barrel, close to its highest level since mid-March, while it rose 52 cents to $ 66.23 a barrel.