Thomson ReutersPedestrians wearing masks are reflected in an electronic board showing the graph of the recent fluctuations of the TOPIX outside a brokerage in Tokyo, JapanBy Hideyuki Sano
TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian shares consolidated their gains on Wednesday, shaking off earlier losses following attacks on the airport and a rush-hour metro train in Brussels as investors look to a brightening global economic picture.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan slipped 0.2 percent but clung near 3 1/2-month high hit earlier this week while Japan’s Nikkei inched up 0.1 percent.
Wall Street shares were mixed on Tuesday. The S&P 500 lost 0.09 percent while the Nasdaq Composite added 0.27 percent.
But emerging markets fared better, with MSCI’s emerging market index rising 0.2 percent to four-month high, having gained more than 20 percent from its seven-year trough high in January.
“After the Group of 20 meeting and China’s parliament meeting, markets got confirmation that policymakers will take necessary steps in monetary, fiscal policy,” said Koichi Yoshikawa, executive director of financial markets at Standard Chartered Bank in Tokyo.
“That is reassuring markets and investors funds’ that had fled to the U.S. markets are returning to high-yielding currencies and emerging markets,” he said.
Financial markets took the attacks in Brussels that killed at least 30 people in their stride, with risk appetite quickly coming back and gains in safe-haven assets evaporating within hours.
In the currency market the safe-haven yen quickly gave up its gains and last stood at 112.23 to the dollar , down 0.6 percent so far this week.
The euro slipped to $1.11885 on Tuesday and last stood at $1.1220, down 0.4 percent on the week.
The dollar was also helped by a rise in U.S. bond yields after Chicago’s Federal Reserve president, seen as a policy dove, struck a bullish tone on the U.S. economy.
Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said he expects two more rate increases this year, based on the current economic outlook.
The 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield rose to 1.954 percent , its highest in a week, compared to 1.871 percent at the end of last week, and edging near last week’s seven-week high of 2.002 percent.
U.S. interest rate futures are also fully pricing in a chance of more than one rate hike by the end of year.
Oil prices slipped from their highs after U.S. industry data showing bigger than expected builds in domestic inventory, but prices maintained a firm tone, supported by general recovery in risk appetite.
Brent futures traded at $41.59 per barrel, down 0.5 percent in Asian trade on Wednesday but still not far from a three-month high of $42.54 set on Friday.
The American Petroleum Institute (API), an industry group, said after futures market settlement on Tuesday that U.S. crude stockpiles rose almost 9 million barrels last week to reach a record high of nearly 532 million.
(Reporting by Hideyuki Sano; Editing by Eric Meijer)
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