Yen surges on yield-curve change; Asia stocks fall: markets wrap

The yen strengthened as the Bank of Japan said it would let benchmark bond yields rise further. Asian equities headed for a fourth day of declines amid investors concern on the global inflation outlook.
The BOJ kept policy rate unchanged, but increased the upper band limit on the yield target to 0.5%. The yen had been appreciating since late October and got a boost more recently from speculation of pivoting away from ultra-lose policy.
Japanese government bond trading was in a midday break.
Shares dropped in China, South Korea and Australia, while Japanese shares eked out a small gain. Reports of growing disruptions from Covid outbreaks remained concerns among investors in Hong Kong and mainland.
US stock futures turned lower after the BOJ policy decision. The S&P 500 had closed at its lowest level in more than a month on Monday. The benchmark was dragged down by declines in big-tech firms including Apple, Microsoft and Amazon.
A gauge of the dollar dropped as it rallied.
In China, banks maintained their benchmark lending rates, including the five-year rate that is a reference for mortgages, for a fourth month after the central bank kept its monetary policy settings unchanged last week.
Oil was higher as investors weighed a pledge from China to revive consumption against broader low-risk sentiment, with West Texas Intermediate above $75 a barrel.
Still, global sentiment remained sour after former New York Fed president and Bloomberg Opinion columnist William Dudley told Bloomberg Television on Monday that optimistic markets could only make the central bank tighten even more.
Milford Asset Management sees the risk of profit decline among companies dragging for longer as the economy slows. “We are looking for at least a profit decline of 20% and possibly a bit more. That’s going to be a bit of a shock to investors next year,” William Curtayne, portfolio manager, said on Bloomberg Television.
19 Dec 2022 11PM English South Africa Business News · Business

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