Shares little changed, Asian stocks creep higher after Wall Street decline


Posted at Jun 13 2017 09:52 AM | Updated as of Jun 13 2017 11:48 AM


MANILA - Shares were little changed on Tuesday as Asian stocks crept higher, defying a weak lead from Wall Street, which was dragged for a second day by technology stocks.

The Philippine Stock Exchange Index edged down 0.009 percent to 7,989.52. The peso opened at P49.55 from P49.50 on Friday.

Investors are also waiting for cues on the pace of interest rate increases in the US during a Federal Reserve meeting this week, analysts told ANC's Market Edge with Cathy Yang.

The index could rise to the 8,000-point level as investors expect President Rodrigo Duterte's infrastructure program to boost the economy, said Jingyi Pan a markets strategist at IG Markets in Singapore.

The rebuilding could be felt as early as the second half, after the President's second annual address to a joint session of Congress, said 2TradeAsia analyst Justim Tembrevilla.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.1 percent in early trade.

Japan's Nikkei slipped 0.3 percent.

South Korea's KOSPI gained 0.3 percent, with the biggest stock Samsung Electronics flat after Monday's 1.6 percent slump. Naver Corp. and LG Innotek, which led Asian losses on Monday, also recovered.

On Wall Street, tech giants including Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Microsoft continued to be sold off for the second consecutive day.

That dragged the Nasdaq down 0.5 percent, the S&P 500 0.1 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.2 percent.

"I don't sit in the camp that we will see a prolonged pullback in US tech, but there is a good chance this hot sector now underperforms and I had been suggesting increasing exposure to U.S. financials as a trade," Chris Weston, chief market strategist at IG in Melbourne, wrote in a note.

In currencies, the Canadian dollar held on to Monday's strong gains, after a Bank of Canada official said the central bank would assess if it needs to keep interest rates at near-record lows as the economy grows. That was a change in tone for the central bank, which said earlier this year that rate cuts remain on the table.

The so-called loonie strengthened about 0.1 percent to trade at C$1.33 to the dollar, extending Monday's 1.1 percent gain.

"It feels like a long time since markets have been treated to unscheduled hints of tightening, and this was quite apparent when you saw the positive reaction of CAD crosses overnight," Matt Simpson, senior market analyst at ThinkMarkets in Melbourne, wrote in a note.

The dollar failed to make up losses against the yen ahead of a widely expected interest rate increase by the US Federal Reserve this week. It was flat at 109.95 yen, after falling 0.4 percent on Monday.

The dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of trade-weighted peers, was marginally higher at 97.177.

The euro inched lower to $1.12.

In commodities, oil advanced on signs of inventory declines in the United States and news that Saudi Arabia would limit volumes of crude to some Asian buyers in July and deepen cuts to the U.S. market.

US crude rose 0.3 percent to $46.19 a barrel.

Global benchmark Brent added 0.2 percent to $48.41. -- with reports from Reuters