Asian Stocks Wobble as Traders Eye Nvidia Results: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) — Asian stocks struggled for solid footing amid a lack of local drivers after the S&P 500 crept to another record ahead of results from giant chipmaker Nvidia Corp.

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Shares in Japan edged lower as the country reported a trade deficit, while stocks in Australia, Hong Kong and mainland China all traded within narrow ranges. Futures for US equities were little changed after the S&P 500 saw its 24th record this year, while contracts for European stocks ticked higher in Asia.

The MSCI Asia Pacific index swung between gains and losses after it snapped a seven-session win streak Tuesday. Investors are waiting to see if Nvidia, the poster child of artificial intelligence, will be able to match the sky-high expectations surrounding the technology.

The New Zealand dollar jumped and government bond yields rose after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand signaled on Wednesday that interest rate cuts may start later in 2025. The central bank kept rates unchanged for a seventh straight meeting.

“The RBNZ has re-embraced a hawkish stance, sending a strong and clear message today that neither inflation nor the current high interest rates are likely to see material change for the rest of 2024,” said Hebe Chen, an analyst at IG Markets.

Treasuries steadied after global bonds rallied on the latest sign that developed nations are finally getting a grip on inflation as Fed Governor Christopher Waller said the recent report on US price pressures was “a reassuring signal.” Minutes of the Federal Reserve’s latest meeting will be released later today.

In commodities, gold held near a record for a second day, while silver and copper slipped after hitting recent highs. Oil extended losses following an industry report showed a jump in stockpiles, adding to bearish signs for the market.

Volatility Awaits

Stock investors are bracing for a spike in volatility, and upcoming events such as Nvidia’s earnings report can exacerbate any moves, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. strategists.

The Santa Clara, California-based company — whose shares have soared over 90% this year after more than tripling in 2023 — is expected to report revenue buoyed by soaring demand in its data-center business.

Meanwhile, Goldman’s measure of risk appetite hit the highest since 2021 last week, driven by optimism around economic growth and monetary policy, but momentum has slowed, the team led by Andrea Ferrario wrote.

The strategists point to CBOE Volatility Index options data that signal higher demand for hedges against sudden market declines, at a time when the gauge has dropped to historically low levels.

For Morgan Stanley’s Andrew Slimmon, there’s still plenty of room for the market to extend its gains from all-time highs.

Low expectations for equities and the preference for a 5% to 6% yield from Treasury bills suggests that markets are still in the “fear” part of the current cycle, the senior portfolio manager at the bank’s investment management arm said Tuesday.

Key events this week:

  • US existing home sales, Wednesday

  • Fed minutes, Wednesday

  • Nvidia earnings, Wednesday

  • Eurozone S&P Global services and manufacturing PMIs, consumer confidence, Thursday

  • G-7 finance meeting, May 23-25

  • US new home sales, initial jobless claims, Thursday

  • Fed’s Raphael Bostic speaks, Thursday

  • US durable goods, consumer sentiment, Friday

  • Fed’s Christopher Waller speaks, Friday

Stocks

  • S&P 500 futures were little changed as of 2:04 pm Tokyo time

  • Nikkei 225 futures (OSE) fell 0.8%

  • Japan’s Topix fell 0.7%

  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was little changed

  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.2%

  • The Shanghai Composite was little changed

  • Euro Stoxx 50 futures rose 0.1%

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was unchanged

  • The euro was unchanged at $1.0854

  • The Japanese yen fell 0.1% to 156.35 per dollar

  • The offshore yuan was little changed at 7.2489 per dollar

  • The Australian dollar was little changed at $0.6669

  • The British pound was little changed at $1.2711

  • The New Zealand dollar rose 0.4% to 0.6117

Cryptocurrencies

  • Bitcoin fell 0.1% to $69,623.99

  • Ether was little changed at $3,747.3

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 4.42%

  • Japan’s 10-year yield advanced 1.5 basis points to 0.995%

  • Australia’s 10-year yield was little changed at 4.26%

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude fell 0.8% to $78.02 a barrel

  • Spot gold fell 0.3% to $2,414.11 an ounce

This story was produced with the assistance of Bloomberg Automation.

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