February 26, 2021

Asian Markets Rise While Gold Continues Its Climb

HONG KONG — Stock markets in the Asia-Pacific region staged a mild rally Tuesday morning, following a muted performance on Wall Street as investors awaited weekly U.S. jobless claims data and the Federal Reserve’s annual symposium later this week.

Australia and Taiwan saw gains of 1.5 percent and 1.8 percent, respectively, by midmorning. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong edged up 0.5 percent, stocks in mainland China rose 0.9 percent and the Kospi in South Korea recouped the previous day’s losses with a gain of 2.5 percent.

The Straits Times Index in Singapore was flat, and the Nikkei 225 index was 0.1 percent higher by the lunchtime break in Tokyo.

In a sign that investors remain intensely nervous after the rollercoaster ride of the past weeks, gold hit another nominal high during early Asian trading, topping $1,910 an ounce. By late morning, the precious metal, which is a traditional haven for investors amid times of uncertainty, was trading at around $1,896.

The main focus of investor attention this week will be the assessment by Ben S. Bernanke, the Fed chairman, of the U.S. economy during the Fed’s symposium in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on Friday.

Some Wall Street analysts said they expected the Fed to take some action — perhaps the lengthening in maturity of the bonds it holds — to depress longer-term interest rates.

“The behavior of financial markets has become truly worrying, with stock market averages down sharply around the globe as heightened risk aversion has gripped markets,” Kevin Logan, chief U.S. economist at HSBC, wrote in a research note.

“A flight to safety, or alternatively, a disinclination to take risk can affect real economic activity as well as financial markets,” he cautioned. “A recession begins when thousands of independent decision makers all around the country decide to postpone hiring and capital investments, all in an attempt to protect cash positions and reduce risk of loss.”

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/24/business/daily-stock-market-activity.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

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