Japanese stocks slide, trade subdued as investors await Fed meeting

18 Juin, 2019, 16:49 | Auteur: Auguste Feret

Investor caution ahead of the Federal Reserve's interest rate meeting capped Asian stocks on Tuesday, while crude oil prices retreated as global growth worries overshadowed supply concerns stemming from recent Middle East tensions.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan inched up 0.05 percent.

Asian markets closed higher, Tokyo's Nikkei closed nearly flat, Hong Kong's Hang Seng was up 0.4 per cent and China's Shanghai Composite added 0.2 per cent.

The Fed, facing fresh demands by US President Donald Trump to cut interest rates, begins a two-day meeting later on Tuesday. The central bank is expected to leave borrowing costs unchanged this time but possibly lay the groundwork for a rate cut later this year.

Dow Industrial futures are little changed, S&P 500 futures are up 0.1 percent and Nasdaq futures were higher by 0.1 percent.

"In just a few months, the market has turned from being guided by the Fed to actively guiding the Fed", wrote interest rate strategists at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

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Markets are nearly fully pricing in a 25-basis-point rate cut for July.

According to CME's FedWatch tool, money market traders have slightly rolled back expectations of Fed easing following data that showed solid growth in domestic retail sales in May, but Fed funds rate futures are fully pricing in a 25-basis point cut by July.

Meantime gold prices fell further on Monday after sliding from a more than 14 month high the previous session following positive U.S. retail data that dampened expectations the Federal Reserve would cut rates.

Earlier, the pound extended an overnight slump and brushed $1.2512, its lowest since January 3. The euro was a shade higher at $1.1224 after spending the previous day confined to a narrow range.

USA crude oil futures shed 0.08 percent to $51.89 per barrel after retreating 1.1 percent the previous day. Brent crude was down a similar amount at $60.76, following Monday's loss of 1.7%. Oil prices had slipped on Monday as weak Chinese economic data released at the end of last week led to fears of lower global demand for the commodity.

Concerns over weakening demand overshadowed tensions in the Middle East, which remained high following last week's attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

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