Asian stocks rangebound amid rate jitters; Powell speech awaited– Most Asian stocks moved in a tight range on Tuesday as uncertainty over interest rates, especially before a speech by Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, kept investors on edge.

Regional markets took middling cues from a slightly positive overnight close on Wall Street, with tech being the only sector to log substantial gains. U.S. stock index futures drifted lower in Asian trade before a slew of cues on interest rates this week.

is set to speak at a European Central Bank event on Tuesday, while the are due on Wednesday. Key labor market data is also on tap this week with due on Friday.

Chinese stocks subdued, Hong Kong up in catch-up trade 

China’s and indexes rose slightly on Tuesday after logging a mildly positive start to July. But they were also nursing steep losses through June, as sentiment over a Chinese economic recovery soured.

Hong Kong’s index rose in catch-up trade after a holiday on Monday, adding 1.5% as local heavyweight technology stocks tracked gains in their U.S. peers. 

Some positive private purchasing managers index data helped support sentiment towards China this week, as did data showing an improvement in home sales.

But official PMI data over the weekend showed China’s manufacturing sector shrank for a second straight month.

Australian stocks fall on hawkish RBA minutes 

Australia’s fell 0.4% after the showed policymakers considered an interest rate hike in the face of sticky inflation.

Australian inflation beat expectations for three consecutive months and remained squarely above the RBA’s target range. UBS analysts said a continuation of this trend could invite a 25 basis point rate hike in August. 

Broader Asian markets were largely rangebound. Japan’s rose 0.3%, while the added 0.8%. The TOPIX was also at an over 30-year high, amid persistent bets that a weak Japanese economy will prevent the Bank of Japan from tightening policy drastically.

South Korea’s fell 0.6% even as data showed South Korean inflation unexpectedly eased in June.

Indian stocks perched at record highs

for India’s index pointed to a mildly negative open, with the index set for some profit-taking after hitting a series of record highs through June.

Optimism over India’s economy, with the ruling BJP party set for a third term in power, saw the Nifty and the surge to new peaks in June. 

The Nifty was up 11% so far in 2024, with analysts predicting more gains on a resilient Indian economy.


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