By Alwyn Scott
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Asian stocks were set to open higher on Wednesday, as global financial shares retraced some of their recent losses, driven in part by higher bond yields, and investors awaited a closely watched Chinese factory activity survey.
While Wall Street ended lower as yields weighed on tech shares, financial stocks rose, their gains helped by signs the fallout from the Archegos meltdown would be relatively contained.
The more upbeat tone expected in Asia also reflected heightened recovery prospects. China’s manufacturing purchasing managers’ index, due for release on Wednesday, was expected to have ticked higher in March as the world’s second-largest economy continues to reopen.
In early Asian trade, Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures rose 0.84% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were up 0.43%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures were down 0.29%.
In the U.S. rising Treasury yields weighed on high-flying tech-related companies that benefit from low interest rates, while financials, industrials and consumer discretionary stocks rose.
Bond prices have been falling on concerns that inflation might tick up from U.S. stimulus and the economic reopening allowed by vaccinations. But Ryan Felsman, a senior economist at CommSec in Sydney, said the inflation picture still seems benign.
“I’m not convinced by the reflation trade,” he said.
The benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury yield hit a 14-month high of 1.776% early on Tuesday, but was at about 1.717% by late afternoon in New York.
Those factors overshadowed news that the soured bets at New York-based Archegos Capital Management left banks that financed its trades nursing at least $6 billion in losses.
While the fund’s meltdown is drawing scrutiny from watchdogs, it was not directly regulated because it manages former hedge fund manager Bill Hwang’s personal wealth as a single-family office..
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.31%, the S&P 500 lost 0.32% and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.11%.
The dollar climbed to a one-year high against the yen and rose against major currencies on the increasing distribution of U.S. vaccines and President Joe Biden’s plans to spend up to $4 trillion on infrastructure.
In early Asian trading, the Japanese yen strengthened 0.01% versus the dollar to 110.33 per dollar.
Brent crude fell 84 cents, or 1.3%, to settle at $64.14 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate U.S. oil ended the session down $1.01, or 1.6%, at $60.55 barrel.
Gold prices slipped nearly 2% on Tuesday.
(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Sam Holmes)