Asian Equities Mixed and Treasuries Rise on Chinese Virus Figures

Asian equities mixed while treasuries edged up as traders weigh  the latest China virus figures as well as hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.

Mainland China and Hong Kong shares fell while South Korea and Japan trading higher . The MSCI Asian Index ex Japan  remained higher for a fourth day, the longest streak since February.

US futures dipped after the S&P 500 added 2% in a risk rebound.

Chinese data showed home prices fell for an eighth month as steps to counter a real-estate downturn failed to revive confidence amid Covid outbreaks.

Treasuries pared a slide from Tuesday, leaving the US 10-year yield at 2.97%. Bonds were pressured overnight after Powell said the Fed “won’t hesitate” to tighten policy beyond neutral to curb inflation. A gauge of the dollar steadied.

Investor sentiment improved a little on robust US retail sales and factory output data, as well as stronger-than-expected euro-area expansion. The worry is that tougher times lie ahead as monetary settings tighten, Russia continues the war in Ukraine and China grapples with Covid.

“We’ll have this kind of volatility as people jump in and look at opportunities to buy as markets decline,” Shana Sissel, director of investments at Cope Corrales, said on Bloomberg Television, referring to the Wall Street bounce. The Fed is going to struggle to achieve a soft economic landing, she added.

Powell said that the US central bank will raise interest rates until there is “clear and convincing” evidence that inflation is in retreat. The remarks at a Wall Street Journal live event were some of his most hawkish so far.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said he expects the Fed to slow the pace of rate increases to 25 basis-point increments later this year. He expects the Fed to have completed any 50 basis-point hikes before December.

“This is one of the most challenging markets I have been in in my career,” Henry Peabody, fixed income portfolio manager at MFS Investment Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “I suspect at a certain point of time we’re going to have the liquidity of the markets challenged. They really haven’t been thus far.”

Crude oil inched up with WTI trading around $113 a barrel and Brent trading around $112 a barrel.