the nikkei index spearheads declines in asian markets as the rally pauses while south korea surpasses first quarter gdp expectations 64


The Nikkei index spearheads declines in Asian markets as the rally pauses, while South Korea surpasses first-quarter GDP expectations


Leo Gonzalez

April 26, 2024 - 01:30 am


Asia-Pacific markets took a pause following two consecutive days of gains, reflecting movements on Wall Street ahead of the release of first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) figures from the U.S. scheduled for Thursday.

Market Movements:

  • Japan’s Nikkei 225 initially declined by 2.16%, leading losses in the region, before partially recovering to close at 37,628.48. The Topix index also fell by 1.74%, closing at 2,663.53. Meanwhile, the yen remained firm, trading above the 155 mark against the U.S. dollar at 155.63.
  • The Bank of Japan commenced its monetary policy meeting amid concerns about yen weakness, with the currency reaching a fresh 34-year low against the dollar.
  • South Korea reported first-quarter GDP growth of 3.4% year-on-year, marking the highest quarterly growth since the fourth quarter of 2021.

Regional Index Performance:

  • South Korea’s Kospi index slipped by 1.76%, closing at 2,628.62, while the small cap Kosdaq fell by 1.04% to 853.26.
  • Chinese indexes, however, defied the downtrend, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index rising by 0.39%, and China’s CSI 300 advancing by 0.25% to close at 3,530.28.
  • Markets in Australia and New Zealand remained closed for a public holiday.

U.S. Market Recap:

  • In the U.S., all three major indexes experienced limited movement as concerns about rising interest rates offset the positive sentiment from strong corporate earnings.
  • Treasury yields increased, putting pressure on stocks, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury note yield surpassing 4.67% at session highs, while the 2-year note rate exceeded 4.95%.
  • The S&P 500 managed a slight gain of 0.02%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by 0.11%, and the Nasdaq Composite edged up by 0.1%.

Additional Insights:

  • Japan's Nikkei 225 index dropped by 2.1%, while the broader Topix index fell by 1.64%, continuing its decline from a record high reached in late March.
  • Investors are awaiting the Bank of Japan’s monetary policy decision on Friday, particularly focusing on its inflation outlook amid a weakening yen, higher oil prices, and robust wage growth.
  • The yen fell below 155 against the U.S. dollar on Thursday, reaching a new 34-year low.