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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Equities turn lower, as fragile yen remains on intervention watch

U.S. and European shares turned lower on Wednesday ahead of more corporate earnings this week and the yen was mired near 34-year lows, keeping traders wary of intervention from Japan.


An after-hours surge in shares of electric vehicle maker Tesla, following its promise of new models, and upbeat earnings from some U.S. companies initially lifted sentiment, spurring a rally in tech stocks in Asia, where the sector rose 3.6% and Europe, where it gained 2.5%.


MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe rose 0.25 points, or 0.03%, to 758.40.


On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 76.51 points, or 0.20%, to 38,427.18. The S&P 500 lost 9.58 points, or 0.19%, at 5,060.97 and the Nasdaq Composite lost 26.80 points, or 0.17%, to 15,669.84.


Europe’s broad STOXX 600 index closed 0.5% lower after rising to its highest in over a week. Financial stocks were a drag. [.EU]


“This week is getting back to market fundamentals and earnings. At least temporarily, we are sidestepping geopolitics which have been impacting markets in the last two weeks,” said Samy Chaar, chief economist at Lombard Odier.


Safe-haven gold lost 0.08% at $2,320.06 an ounce. U.S. gold futures fell 0.14% to $2,324.50 an ounce.


Still to come in an earnings-packed week are results from tech giants Meta Platforms, Alphabet and Microsoft.


That divergence helped the euro nudge above $1.07 in Asia trade, its highest in more than a week.


“For once, US-eurozone divergence in data has come to the benefit of euro/dollar,” said Francesco Pesole, currency strategist at ING, in a note.


“(Though) hard data - inflation and employment above all - has been the real drag on the pair so far, so caution is warranted when it comes to rallies prompted by activity surveys like PMIs.”


U.S. gross domestic product and March personal consumption expenditure data due later this week will be crucial for the dollar and for investors’ attempts to gauge the path of U.S. rates.


Traders expect the Federal Reserve to start easing rates in September and ending the year with 42 basis points of cuts, down from previous bets for 150 bps.


“One thing is fore sure: the Fed is not raising rates. I believe they want to tighten financial conditions by communicating a further distance is required for cuts, but they can do those cuts at whatever speed is necessary,” said Jamie Cox, managing partner for Harris Financial Group in Richmond, Virginia.


The drastic shift in rate expectations has elevated Treasury yields and lifted the dollar in the past few weeks, with pressure felt particularly in Asia.


In the latest illustration, Indonesia’s central bank delivered a surprise rate hike on Wednesday, stepping up efforts to support the rupiah currency.


The Japanese yen weakened 0.28% to 155.25 per dollar and touched its lowest since 1990 ahead of the Bank of Japan’s two-day policy meeting that concludes on Friday.


A senior official of Japan’s ruling party told Reuters they were not yet in active discussion on what yen levels would be deemed worthy of market intervention.

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