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Asian markets rise in anticipation of Yellen testimony

Tuesday 05:05 BST

Overview

Asia pacific equities rose, tracking muted gains for Wall Street ahead of Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s testimony on monetary policy to Congress on Wednesday.

Hot topic

Japan’s Topix index was up 0.7 per cent as the consumer discretionary sector gained 0.8 per cent and the telecommunications services sector rose 1.3 per cent. Watch and printer manufacturer Seiko Epson rose as much as 4.6 per cent after index provider Nikkei said it would put the firm in the Nikkei 225 index, replacing troubled conglomerate Toshiba.

In Australia the S&P/ASX 200 was down 0.1 per cent despite a gain for materials stocks, which rose 0.4 per cent. Australian legal group Slater & Gordon jumped as much as 13.5 per cent after it said it had reached an A$36.5m ($27.8m) agreement to settle a class action suit that had been blocking a recapitalisation deal.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 1.1 per cent with a 1.3 per cent gain for the financial sector as insurers rose. China’s Shanghai Composite was off 0.1 per cent while the Shenzhen Composite was up 0.2 per cent.

The S&P 500 closed the New York session up 0.1 per cent.

Forex

The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a basket of peers, was up 0.1 per cent at 96.206.

The Japanese yen was off 0.1 per cent at ¥114.18, hovering around the two-month lows it hit on Monday against the dollar.

The New Zealand dollar was the biggest loser among major currencies, down 0.5 per cent at $0.7240 against the dollar after retail card spending in the country for June came in below estimates.

Fixed income

The yield on 10-year US Treasuries, which moves inversely to bond prices, was down 0.5 basis point at 2.380 per cent ahead of Ms Yellen’s testimony to Congress on Wednesday.

The yield for Japanese 10-year government bonds was up 0.4 bp at 0.090 per cent. The yield for Australian 10-year notes was up 1.3 bps at 2.748 per cent.

Commodities

Benchmark Brent crude was up 0.4 per cent at $47.05 a barrel after a choppy session on Monday, while US marker West Texas Intermediate was up by the same amount, at $44.57 a barrel.

Gold was down 0.2 per cent at $1,212.15 an ounce.

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