An uneasy calm prevailed during Asian trade as investors digested a flurry of comments from central bank officials to look for signs of whether global interest rates have peaked, with Fed Chair Jerome Powell yet again to take center stage.
Powell on Wednesday did not comment on monetary policy in opening remarks at the U.S. central bank statistics conference, but is scheduled to speak at another conference on Thursday with traders ready to scrutinize every word.
At a separate event on Wednesday, European Central Bank chief economist Philip Lane said his bank needs to see further progress in dampening inflationary pressure, and companies along with governments need to chip in to prevent more policy tightening.
U.S. Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker at yet another event said the Fed’s recent decision to hold rates steady was the right choice, and cautioned market participants to not get ahead of themselves.
“A decrease in the policy rate is not something that is likely to happen in the short term,” he said.
The ECB’s Lane will take the stage again on Thursday while Bank of England Chief Economist Huw Pill will also speak at a another event, with any comments likely to influence the market given a bare economic calendar.
Futures hint at a moderately lower open in European stock markets.
Investors also will keep an eye on shares of Europe’s most valuable company, Novo Nordisk, after U.S. and British regulators both gave the thumbs up to Eli Lilly’s weight-loss treatment Zepbound on Wednesday. The approval paves the way for a powerful rival to blockbuster drug Wegovy in addressing record obesity rates.
In Asia, China’s property stocks are back in the spotlight. They rose late on Wednesday after Reuters reported China’s State Council had instructed the local government of Guangdong province to help arrange a rescue of Country Garden by Ping An Insurance Group .
Ping An subsequently said in a statement to Reuters it had “not been asked by (the) Government to take over Country Garden.”
On Thursday, shares of Ping An extended declines. Country Garden and other property stocks gave up some gains from a day earlier.
Meanwhile, data on Thursday showed China’s consumer prices fell and factory-gate deflation persisted in October, indicating pressure on demand has picked up as the world’s second-largest economy struggles to emerge from a post-pandemic slump.
Elsewhere, Hollywood actors reached a tentative agreement with major studios on Wednesday to resolve the second of two strikes that have rocked the entertainment industry this year as workers demanded higher pay in the streaming TV era.
Key developments that could influence markets on Thursday:
Earnings: AstraZeneca, Merck KGaA, Deutsche Telekom
Speakers: ECB chief economist Philip Lane and BOE chief economist Huw Pill in separate events; Fed Chair Powell later in the day
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