ASIA SHARES LACKLUSTER, AWAIT BETTER CHINA DATA
Asian shares were little changed on Friday ahead of a raft of Chinese economic data, while world stocks, on the whole, flew at a record level, fueled by strong US economic data that may herald a solid recovery ahead, Hideyuki Sano reported for Reuters.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed while Japan's Nikkei (.N225) ticked up 0.2%. China will release a series of economic data later in the day, including its first-quarter GDP.
MSCI's broadest gauge of world stocks stood flat after 0.89 percent gains the previous day to a record high.
"US economic data released yesterday was all strong, confirming the US economy is firmly on a recovery track," said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
Retail sales rebounded 9.8% in March, the largest increase since May 2020, in a gain that pushed the level of sales 17.1% above its pre-pandemic level to a record high. The brightening economic prospects were underscored by other data, including first-time claims for unemployment benefits tumbling last week to the lowest level since March 2020.
Despite strong data, US bond yields dropped, in part driven by Japanese buying, as they have began a new financial year this month. The 10-year U.S. Treasuries yield dropped to 1.529%, a five-week low, on Thursday and last stood at 1.566%, off its 14-month high of 1.776% set at the end of March.
On Wall Street, the S&P 500 (.SPX) advanced 1.11% while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite (.IXIC) added 1.31%, nearing its record peak set in February. In the currency market, lower U.S. yields were a drag on the U.S. dollar.
The euro stood at $1.1965 , having hit a six-week high of $1.19935 overnight while the U.S. currency slipped to a three-week low of 108.61 yen. Oil prices held firm after hitting four-week highs on Thursday following positive U.S. economic data and higher demand forecasts from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and OPEC.
Brent futures stood flat at $66.93 per barrel, while U.S. crude was also little changed at $63.42 per barrel, both on course for their first substantial weekly gains in six.