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Global stocks set to snap 9-week winning streak on Fed repricing

TOKYO : Asian stocks wobbled on Friday, keeping global equities on track to snap a nine-week winning streak, while the dollar was poised for its strongest weekly advance since mid-July as bets on aggressive Federal Reserve rate cuts were rolled back.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan eased 0.1 per cent in the Asian morning, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipping 0.18 per cent.

The MSCI world index was about flat so far on the day, but heading for a 1.7 per cent decline this week.

Japan’s Nikkei was something of an outlier, bouncing 0.5 per cent on Friday as exporters got a boost from the yen’s slide back to just shy of 145 per dollar amid a rise in U.S. Treasury yields.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the currency against a basket of six major peers including the yen, hovered around 102.39, not far from Wednesday’s three-week high of 102.73. For the week, it is up 0.97 per cent.

Meanwhile, the 10-year Treasury yield was hovering just below the psychological 4 per cent mark at about 3.99 per cent, up some 13 basis points over the week.

Overnight, Wall Street’s S&P 500 retreated 0.34 per cent, taking its losses this week to 1.7 per cent, setting up its first weekly decline since late October. Futures pointed to a 0.08 per cent rise at the reopen.

The latest catalyst for a paring of Fed rate-cut bets came from more resilient U.S. labour market data on Thursday, putting less pressure on the central bank to race to ease policy.

Traders now see a little better than 2-in-3 odds that the Fed cuts rates by March, down from a 71 per cent probability a week earlier, according to the CME Group’s Fedwatch tool.

The release of monthly U.S. payrolls figures looms large later in the day, with investors “agonising” over the timing and pace of rate cuts, according to Kyle Rodda, senior financial market analyst at Capital.com.

“Speculation and a dose of leverage can force rates markets to overshoot,” Rodda said.

“Such technical factors might explain the moderation in U.S. rate expectations,” with “data indicating a more resilient U.S. economy” acting as the catalyst, he added.

Elsewhere, gold edged higher to around $2,047 per ounce, though it was still set to snap a three-week winning streak with a 0.76 per cent slide so far in 2024.

Oil ticked slightly higher following declines on Thursday, when massive weekly gasoline and distillate stock builds overshadowed a larger-than-expected crude stock draw.

Brent crude futures were up 0.18 per cent at $77.73 per barrel, after settling down 0.8 per cent overnight. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures added 0.43 per cent to $72.50 on Friday following a 0.7 per cent decline in the previous session.

For the week, Brent is up 0.96 per cent, while WTI has gained 1.17 per cent.

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