ASIA MARKETS: Nikkei Nudges Up As Asian Markets Take Wait-and-see Approach To Jackson Hole

Analyst expects Yellen, Draghi 'to be as boring as possible'

Japanese stocks rebounded as the yen pulled back after inflation ticked higher, though many global investors remain on the sidelines ahead of key comments at a central-banking conclave in the U.S.

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The Nikkei ended the morning trading session up 0.4% after falling in 12 of the past 15 sessions. Earlier, it was up as much as 0.5%. The U.S. dollar moved back above Yen109.60 from around Yen109 when Tokyo stocks stopped trading Thursday.

Exporters like Yamaha Motor (7272.TO) , Toyota (7203.TO) and Sony (6758.TO) were all up nearly 1%.

Meanwhile, the government said the core consumer-price index rose 0.5% in July from a year earlier, in line with expectations. In June, it grew 0.4%.

For Japan, rising prices are welcome because the country has been fighting a stop-and-start battle with deflation for a quarter-century, noted Rob Carnell, chief economist and head of research for the Asia-Pacific region at ING. It should also provide some support for Japanese equities, he added.

Still, Carnell expects markets to be quiet ahead of scheduled speeches later today from Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen and European Central Bank President Mario Draghi in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

"The expectation is that both will seek to be as boring as possible," said Carnell, "but that there is going to be a lot of intense chatter behind the scenes about where the earth is inflation and what the earth do we do if it doesn't arrive."

Most other Asia-Pacific stock indexes were little changed. Chinese markets rose after Thursday's declines, while Australia's benchmark fell 0.1% on fresh selling of the country's big banks.

ANZ Bank noted Friday that after an absence of market-moving news this week, that "environment should start to fade next week as the data cycle picks up and the summer holidays [draw] to a close." Investors should be interested in the coming August jobs report from the U.S.

Oil rebounded after fresh selling overnight; U.S. and global benchmarks rose 0.7%, partially reversing Thursday's declines.

Meanwhile, aluminum prices remained near four-year highs as China's State Council said the nation should push ahead with capacity cuts. "The crackdown on illegal capacity is likely to have a larger impact on physical aluminum markets than the antipollution-related cuts during the heating season," said Commonwealth Bank of Australia analyst Vivek Dhar.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

August 24, 2017 23:23 ET (03:23 GMT)