Asian stocks pull back, dollar regains footing ahead of U.S. payrolls data
Asian stock markets: https://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
China shares fall, Japan's Nikkei up 0.6%
Sentiment hurt by weak earnings from U.S. tech giants
Sterling, euro falter after BOE, ECB signal pause
European yields sharply lower, Treasury flat ahead of payrolls
By Stella Qiu
SYDNEY, Feb 3 (Reuters) -Asian shares turned lower and the dollar regained some of its footing on Friday, as disappointing earnings from U.S. tech giants undermined sentiment ahead of a key U.S. non-farm payrolls report.
Overnight, markets sensed the end of the massive global tightening cycle, after policymakers in Britain and Europe signalled their intention to pause, sending local bonds rallying and currencies lower.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS eased 0.5% on Friday, dragged down by a 0.9% slump in Chinese bluechips .CSI300 and a 1.2% tumble in Hong Kong's Hang Seng index .HSI.
Japan's Nikkei .N225 outperformed, rising 0.6%.
Disappointment over earnings results from Google GOOGL.O, Apple AAPL.O and Amazon AMZN.O tempered sentiment.
S&P 500 futures ESc1 slid 0.5% and Nasdaq futures NQc1 fell 1.4% on Friday, .
Tech shares took a beating in Thursday's after-hours trading, with shares of Apple, Amazon and Google parent Alphabet all tumbling.
That took the shine off a strong regular trading session on Thursday, when the S&P .SPX climbed 1.5% and the Nasdaq .IXIC surged 3.3%.The uptick built on strong gains from the previous day after the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said disinflationary pressures are underway in the economy, raising hopes of an imminent pause to its monetary tightening streak.
Apple projected another revenue decline in the start of the year, Amazon warned that its operating profit could fall to zero in the current quarter, and Google parent Alphabet missed expectations in its fourth-quarter profit and revenue.
Investors are also watching the fallout from this week's plunge in shares of India's Adani group, after market losses amounted to more than $100 billion in the wake of a U.S. short-seller's report.
On Thursday, the European Central bank (ECB) and Bank of England (BoE) hiked rates by 50 basis points each, with the BoE saying the tide was turning against inflation and the ECB indicating at least one more hike was on the horizon before re-evaluating its rate hike path.
Markets reacted by pushing European yields sharply lower, with the ten-year Germanbunds DE10YT=RR falling 22.6 basis points to 2.065%, the biggest drop since 2011, and Italianbonds IT10YT=RRtumbling 40 bps to 3.887%, the most since 2020, on hopes that the tightening from ECB will end soon.
"The wash-up is that the BoE meeting was dovish, and the ECB is now firmly open-minded and data-dependent, and the Fed chose not to fight the market and the market feels validated by that," said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone.
Alan Ruskin, macro strategist at Deutsche Bank, said given the current market price action ahead of the U.S.payrolls data, a softer report would be regarded as endorsing all the favourite trades of the year.
"Not least it would provide the most important evidence to date to suggest that the market's rates pricing is more appropriate than the Fed’s own more hawkish signalling," said Ruskin.
Analysts expect 185,000 jobs were added last month, the lowest since January 2021, unemployment edged up to 3.6%, and hourly wage inflation to stay flat at 0.3% on a monthly basis, suggesting the strong labour market might have started to ease up.
Futures markets still favour another 25-basis-point hike from the Fed at its March policy meeting, while implying that might be the end of its current tightening cycle. They have also priced in one rate cut by the end of this year. FEDWATCH
In the currency markets, the euro EUR=EBS extended losses to $1.0891, pulling further away from the ten-month top of $1.1033 touched on Thursday.
The sterling GBP=D3 fell to $1.2206 on Friday, the lowest in more than two weeks, after tumbling 1.2% the previous session.
That helped the U.S. dollar to recoup most of its post-Fed losses, with the dollar index =USD now standing at 101.81, away from its nine-month low of 100.80.
Treasury yields held largely steady. The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes US10YT=RR eased 2 basis points to 3.3799%, while the two-year yield US2YT=RR, which rises with traders' expectations of higher Fed fund rates, was mostly flat at 4.0959%.
In the oil market, Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose 0.3% to $82.41 while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude CLc1 also settled up 0.3%, at $76.09. O/R
Gold was slightly higher. Spot gold XAU= was traded at $1916.1 per ounce. GOL/
Asia stock marketshttps://tmsnrt.rs/2zpUAr4
Editing by Shri Navaratnam
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