Japanese Stocks Outshine Europe and U.S. Before Key Inflation Data

European equities and S&P 500 futures declined as investors awaited a U.S. inflation data that might influence Federal Reserve policy, Japanese shares reached a 34-year high on Tuesday.

Before the inflation data, Treasury bonds and the US currency saw minimal movement. Inflows into exchange-traded funds backed by the digital currency allowed Bitcoin to reach the $50,000 mark for the first time in more than two years, and it stayed slightly over that mark.

The benchmark was close to reaching a record high of 38,957 on December 29, 1989, as Japan’s Nikkei (.N225), opens new tab, continued to rise, reaching 38,010 on Tuesday. Following an increase of 28% in 2023, the Nikkei has gained more than 13% so far this year.

Attracted by the market’s cheap values, foreign investors have flooded in.

“U.S. yields have moved up year to date,” said Max Kettner, chief multi-asset strategist at HSBC. “In the absence of any kind of meaningful tightening from the Bank of Japan that really hurts the Japanese yen, (which) helps the export-sensitive Japanese equity market.”

Europe’s continent-wide Stoxx 600 index (.STOXX), opens new tab slipped 0.33% in early trading, after rising 0.54% on Monday, as investors turned cautious before the U.S. data. Germany’s DAX (.GDAXI), opens new tab stock index was 0.72% lower.

Britain’s FTSE 100 (.FTSE), opens new tab slipped 0.15% while the pound climbed 0.1% after data showed wage growth was stronger than expected in the last three months of 2023.

Futures for the U.S. S&P 500 fell 0.32%, while Nasdaq futures were down 0.4%.

January U.S. inflation data could jolt markets at 1330 GMT (8.30 a.m. ET). Economists polled by Reuters expect the consumer price index (CPI) to rise 2.9% year-on-year, down from 3.4% in the previous month.

A higher-than-expected number could nudge yields higher and further strengthen the dollar, said Charu Chanana, head of currency strategy at Saxo.

Market pricing shows investors think there’s currently a 70% chance of an interest rate cut by May, “and there appears room to push that further to June with markets remaining sensitive to hawkish surprises for now,” Chanana said.

Investors have lowered their bets on rate cuts from the biggest central banks in recent weeks as U.S. data has come in stronger than expected. They now see roughly 110 basis points of cuts by the end of the year, down from around 145 basis points at the start of February.

The yield on 10-year Treasury notes was up very slightly at 4.19%. The dollar index , which measures the U.S. currency against six rivals, was little changed at 104.24. The euro was roughly flat at $1.0761.

The Japanese yen , which is sensitive to U.S. rates, was last down around 0.2% at 149.67 per dollar, not far from the closely watched 150 level that analysts said would likely trigger further comments from Japanese officials in an attempt to support the currency.

Japan’s currency has fallen around 6% against the dollar this year as investors have pushed back their expectations for when the BOJ will end its ultra-loose monetary policy.

In commodities, Brent crude oil futures were at $82.06, up 0.1% on the day.

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Sydney Okafor

I am so passionate about this my profession as a broadcast journalist and voiceover artists and presently a reporter at TV360 Nigeria

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