Asian stock markets finished the day quietly on a thinly traded day as most markets remain closed on account of Good Friday. Ongoing ambiguity about the direction of U.S. interest rates alongside a reemerged weakness in oil prices has kept investors on their toes today.
While Australia, Hong Kong and India’s markets were closed for trading today, trading in China, Japan and Taiwan remained moderate for lack of any clear direction. China’s Shanghai SE Composite Index rose 0.62% to 2,979.43 during the day. Nikkei 225 too fared better by adding 0.65% to 17,002.75.
Japanese equities surged after the country’s consumer inflation came far below expectations, leading to expectations that the Bank of Japan will be forced to implement more stimulus measures. The consumer inflation index remained unchanged at 1.1 in February, which made analysts project that the number might not meet the Central Bank’s target for several years. It appears that the low energy prices and consumption added to deflationary pressures.
Taiwan’s TSEC 50 Index fell 0.44% to 8,704.97 during the day.
Fed’s change of outlook
European markets had ended the trading session for the week yesterday. Major European markets reported a sharp fall on concerns over the Fed’s hawkish comments while hammered oil prices further added to the woes. FTSE 100 settled at 6,106.48, down by 1.49% whereas Euronext 100 had lost 15.12 points to 856.68 during the previous session. CAC 40 fell 2.13% to 4,329.68 and DAX erased gains of up to 1.71% to 9,851.35. Th Swiss Market Index too plunged 1.50% to 7,775.58.
U.S. stocks too saw pressure due to a change of tone by Fed officials. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained slightly and ended the session 0.08% up at 17,515.73. The S&P 500 Index slipped 0.04% to 2,035.94. The sudden change of the Fed’s outlook from dovish to hawkish has caused volatility in the markets.