Asian stock markets returned lower on Wednesday after vast gains scored at the beginning of this week, with investors getting nervous in particular after China's central bank lowered the yuan's midpoint a little bit today. Safe havens like yen made some small gains, while U.S. treasury bonds rose handily, leading yields lower amid renewed worries in the markets.
Additionally, Japan's core machinery orders rose just 4.2% m/m in December, lower than expectations of a 4.6% rise. Japan's Nikkei index dropped 1.40% to below the level of 16,000 again, while Australian shares gave up more than half a percentage point. South Korea's KOSPI dipped 0.23%, but China's Shanghai index bucked the losing trend, advancing 0.46%.
Yen made some noticeable gains, rising 0.30% against the dollar to trade at 113.77, while climbing by a similar percentage versus the struggling sterling to hover around 162.66, threatening to go below 160 like it did last week. Euro edged down 0.1% against the Japanese currency to 127.02.
U.S. treasury yields fell as investors pick up the ultra-safe bonds, with the two year bond yields tumbling 2.84% to 0.702, while five-year yields slid 2.23% to below two percent. Ten-year yields similarly gave up 1.82% to hover around 1.745.
Wall Street closed with big gains on Tuesday, with Dow Jones ending up 222 points, or 1.39% at 16,196. NASDAQ Composite drove 98 points higher, or 2.27% to 4,435, making it the biggest winner. S&P 500 added 30 points, or 1.65% to close at 1,895, a whisker away from the 1,900 level.
Oil prices were largely lower today as investors still digest a deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia to freeze production volumes at the January levels, provided other countries join forces with them. Brent crude futures fell five cents, or 0.14% to $32.13 a barrel, while U.S. crude futures shed 13 cents, or 0.46% to $28.90 a barrel.
An Array of data is awaited today, with Britain's unemployment rate expected to drop in December to 5.0% from 5.1% in November, which would be a multi-year, good news for the suffering sterling.
From the U.S, building permits are expected to have risen to an annualized 1.21 million in January, from December's 1.20M, which is largely good news for the economy and the greenback.