Asian Shares Make Small Gains as Investors Await Fed Chairman’s Comments

Stocks in Asia made small gains on Tuesday after a rough 24 hours, as investors anticipated comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell later in the day amid speculation that high interest rates in many advanced economies will persist for longer.

As of 9.24 A.M. (Thai time), in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 edged slightly higher.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index led gains in the region and rose 1.07%, led by healthcare and technology stocks. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite added 0.18%.

The Nikkei 225 gained 0.26% as the Bank of Japan reportedly plans to submit nominees for its next governor to parliaments next week, according to Kyodo. The Kospi in South Korea also rose 0.70%.

Wall Street fell further overnight as investors continued to process economic data from last week that indicated the Federal Reserve has room to raise interest rates further.

As investors were more wary about rising bond yields, the Nasdaq Composite led the market down. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average ended at lower levels. The benchmark 10-year Treasury bond yield increased by about 11 basis points overnight, reaching 3.64%.

Strong U.S. jobs growth in January prompted the repricing of higher rates. The 517,000 increase in nonfarm payrolls was more than double what economists had predicted. The jobless rate dropped to 3.4%, a level not seen in almost 53 years.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell will be speaking at the Economic Club of Washington later on Tuesday, and investors will be paying close attention.