Forex Pros – Asian stock markets were mixed on Wednesday, amid concerns over monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve, while shares in metal producers performed strongly after gold prices rose to an all-time high.
During late Asian trade, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 0.32%, South Korea’s Kospi Composite fell 0.17%, while Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index shed 0.32%
The minutes of March’s Federal Reserve policy meeting released Wednesday revealed that a number of policy makers indicated that economic conditions in the U.S. might warrant a move toward less-accommodative monetary policy this year.
Meanwhile, shares in Tokyo Electric Power Company tumbled 6.9% after the Kyodo News reported that the company may make a preliminary compensation payment of JPY1 million to each household near the crippled Fukushima Daiichi power plant.
TEPCO saw shares have plunged nearly 80% of its market value since the nuclear crisis began, breaching its record low since listing in 1951.
Shares in Japan’s second largest lender Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, which owns a 2.2% stake in TEPCO, slumped 2%. Rival Mizuho Financial Group, which holds a 1.5% stake in the utility provider saw shares drop 1.53%.
Elsewhere, in Honk Kong, markets took in stride news that China unexpectedly raised its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday in an effort to curb inflation.
Shares in gold producers were broadly higher after gold prices rallied to a record high of USD1,457.20 a troy ounce. Hong Kong-listed shares of China’s largest gold producer Zijin Mining Group jumped 2%, Shandong Gold Mining advanced 1.8%, while shares in Chenzhou Mining Group surged 5%.
The outlook for European equity markets, meanwhile, was upbeat. The EURO STOXX 50 futures pointed to a modest gain of 0.07%, France’s CAC 40 futures added 0.19%, the FTSE 100 futures gained 0.22%, while Germany’s DAX futures indicated a rise of 0.23%.
Later in the day, Germany was to publish official data on factory orders, while the single currency bloc was also to publish revised quarterly data on gross domestic product. Meanwhile, the U.S. was to produce a report on crude oil inventories.
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