Syndey, Aug. 23 (BNA): Asian markets were marking time on Wednesday as investors awaited results from tech darling Nvidia to see if the sector’s lofty valuations can withstand a jump in bond yields, while still gloomy factory readings from Japan left sentiment fragile.
Europe is likely to open in an equally subdued manner, with EUROSTOXX 50 futures up a slight 0.2%. S&P 500 futures climbed 0.3% while Nasdaq futures rose 0.4%.
In Asia, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan (.MIAPJ0000PUS) rose 0.3%, hovering not far away from its nine-month trough hit just two sessions ago. Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) also eked out a gain of 0.3%.
Data on Wednesday showed Japan’s factory activity shrank for a third straight month in August, offering the first glimpse into the health of global manufacturing this month, Reuters reported.
The United States will also report its flash PMI readings on Wednesday, which is likely to show the factory sector remained in contraction.
The benchmark 10-year Japanese government bond yield advanced to a fresh 9-1/2-year peak of 0.675%, as investors took the Bank of Japan’s decision to refrain from intervening to buy bonds as a green light for further selling.
In China, bluechips failed to hold onto Tuesday’s gains, falling 0.9%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (.HSI) held up better, up 0.6% after a 1% jump.
Iron ore prices rose 5% to a fresh two-year high on Wednesday, and coking coal and coke were up more than 3% in the absence of Chinese government directives to cut steel production.
Investors are eagerly awaiting results from Nvidia NVDA.O due late on Wednesday. The chip company’s blockbuster report last quarter fuelled a rally in tech stocks and artificial intelligence hopes, propelling the S&P 500 this year.
Shares of Nvidia hit an all-time high of $481.87 overnight, with options data showing traders are expecting a larger-than-usual swing in shares after the quarterly results.
Analysts expect Nvidia to forecast 110% growth in third-quarter revenue to $12.50 billion. Stuart Humphrey, an analyst at JPMorgan, said some are forecasting $14-15 billion.
“This kind of number feels a touch high to me, but if it sniffs this – one could argue that into this print, it doesn’t matter if demand will eventually decline next year – (it) still will be rerated higher,” Humphrey said.
Overnight, Wall Street was pressured by higher yields which hit fresh 16-year highs. The Dow Jones (.DJI) fell 0.5%, the S&P 500 (.SPX) lost 0.3% and the Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 0.1%.
Financial shares underperformed, with the S&P 500 banks (.SPXBK) sliding 2.4%, after S&P joined Moody’s to downgrade multiple regional U.S. lenders.
Elsewhere, Treasuries took a breather from the recent rout. Ten-year yields eased 2 basis points to 4.3062% in Asia, after touching a 16-year top of 4.3660% a session earlier.
A jump in Treasury issuance, Fitch’s credit downgrade three weeks ago and concerns China will dump Treasuries to support the yuan have added to a sell-off as investors await the Fed’s annual summit in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, later this week for more rate clues.
Comments from Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin raised expectations that Chair Jerome Powell would drive home a hawkish message, after strong U.S. economic data makes the “reacceleration scenario” possible.
In currency markets, moves were largely muted ahead of Jackson Hole. The U.S. dollar was still standing strong near its two month top at 103.5 against a basket of major currencies.
The yen gained 0.2% to 145.62 per dollar, pulling further away from a nine-month trough of 146.56, amid talks that Japan will only intervene in the market if the currency plunges past 150 to the dollar.
Oil prices were slightly higher. Brent crude futures rose 0.1% at $84.09 per barrel and U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures also climbed 0.1% at $79.72.
Spot gold was 0.3% higher at $1,902.68 per ounce.
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