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FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a face mask after the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak stands in front of an electric board showing the stock index of Nikkei (above in C) and other countries outside a brokerage all in one Shows business district in Tokyo. Japan, January 4, 2021. REUTERS / Kim Kyung-Hoon

HONG KONG: Asian stocks were mixed on Friday morning as slight gains in China were offset by declines elsewhere and investors worldwide ahead of a long-awaited speech by Fed chief Jerome Powell were careful.

Comments from more restrictive Federal Reserve policymakers and a deadly attack in Afghanistan also dampened sentiment, helping the dollar gain against a basket of its competitors.

MSCI’s broadest index for Asia Pacific stocks outside of Japan lost 0 .1 percent, while the Japanese Nikkei lost 0.46 percent.

However, in a reversal of recent weeks, when Chinese stocks weighed on the region, Chinese blue chips gained 0.57 percent after China’s central bank made its largest weekly injection of money into the banking system since February.

“There are three things that are conspiring to dampen sentiment right now,” said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG Markets, referring to Wall Street’s weak lead after the attack in Afghanistan, the fact that Asian markets lagged this week as investors were nervous about the potential for future regulatory crackdowns in China and were cautious ahead of the upcoming Jackson Hole Symposium.

Powell will address the Kansas City Fed Central Bank Conference at 1400 GMT, an event normally held in Jackson Hole, Wyoming that has been used many times in the past by Fed officials to provide guidance on future policy

Traders will analyze Powell’s words for clues as to when the Fed will begin scaling back its asset purchase program.

Analysts at RBC said in a note that although much of the summer Waiting for the event, “There was skepticism that the Fed would provide more specific information on a schedule … amid a spike in Delta variant COVID cases”.

Islamic State hit the crowded in a suicide bombing Thursday Gates of Kabul airport, killing numerous civilians and at least 13 US soldiers.

This, along with public statements from the restrictive wing of the US Federal Reserve urging the central bank to begin reducing bond purchases, helped Wall Street close a little lower and end a series of all-time highs The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.54 percent, the S&P 500 lost 0.58 percent, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 0.64 percent.

Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan said he believed that the progress of the economic recovery warrants that the Fed’s bond purchases begin in October or shortly thereafter after St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said the central bank would band together on a plan to begin the rejuvenation.

Benchmark 10-year Treasury yield was 1.3441% below its two-week high of 1.375% the previous day as traders were cautious ahead of Powell’s speech.

In terms of a basket of currencies, the dollar has risen slightly from Thursday’s lows. The euro was trading at $ 1.1747 after falling from the previous day’s high of $ 1.1779 as a survey showed weaker consumer sentiment in Germany.

US crude oil rose 0.34 percent to $ 67.65 a barrel. Brent crude rose 0.25 percent to $ 71.27 a barrel and continued this week’s rally after a pause on Thursday as energy companies began production in the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a possible hurricane forecast for the weekend set [O / R]

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Ref: https://www.channelnewsasia.com