Asia Stocks Set for Muted Start as Powell Awaits: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) -- Stocks in Asia looked set for a muted Friday start after a lackluster U.S. session that saw traders adopt a cautious stance before Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s address at the Jackson Hole summit. Treasuries dipped.Futures were little changed in Japan and Hong Kong. The S&P 500 Index closed flat amid weak volumes. Treasuries were volatile, with the benchmark 10-year yield climbing as three Federal Reserve policy makers voiced their resistance to the notion that the U.S. economy needs lower interest rates, and a fourth saying he wanted to avoid taking further action “unless we have to.” The dollar was steady, while crude oil edged up.Anticipation is building for Powell’s speech after a tumultuous August for markets amid concern over a slowing global economy and the escalating U.S.-China trade war. Investors have priced in a quarter percentage-point U.S. rate cut next month, but dissenting Fed voices may limit the prospects for the larger move that some have advocated, including President Donald Trump.“The markets want more than the Fed is going to give here,” Alicia Levine, chief strategist at Bank of New York Mellon Corp., told Bloomberg TV. “There is real disagreement within the FOMC about where the U.S. economy is, and particularly the fact that the data has been stronger than one would expect. There’s a setup for Powell to disappoint the market.”Elsewhere, most euro-area government bonds fell on Thursday as the European Central Bank expressed concern that investors were losing faith in its ability to revive inflation and after a gauge of German manufacturers reinforced recession concern. The British pound jumped as investors seized on hints from European leaders that a Brexit deal could still be reached.Here are some of the main moves in markets:StocksFutures on the S&P 500 were flat as of 8:05 a.m. in Tokyo. The underlying gauge was little changed on Thursday.Futures on Japan’s Nikkei 225 dipped 0.1%.Hang Seng futures earlier added 0.1%.Futures on Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index slipped 0.2%.CurrenciesThe yen was at 106.46 per dollar.The offshore yuan was at 7.0897 per dollar.The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed.The euro bought $1.1083, little changed.The British pound was at $1.2253 after jumping 1%.BondsThe yield on 10-year Treasuries increased two basis points to 1.61%.Australia’s 10-year yield added five basis points to 0.96%. CommoditiesWest Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.2% to $55.45 a barrel.Gold was at $1,497.74 an ounce.\--With assistance from Rita Nazareth, Vildana Hajric and Caroline Hyde.To contact the reporter on this story: Adam Haigh in Sydney at ahaigh1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Christopher Anstey at, Cormac MullenFor more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.