Asian markets were mixed in early trading Thursday after China’s central bank cut its loan prime rate, as expected.
The People’s Bank of China cut its benchmark one-year loan prime rate by 10 basis points, and the five-year loan prime rate by 5 basis points. That came days after central bank officials cut the one-year medium-term lending rate to 3.15% from 3.25% and conducted additional monetary stimulus.
But some found the PBoC’s actions underwhelming. “Not nearly enough,” wrote Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at AxiTrader, in a note. “Although the LPR came in on expectation, the market was hoping for 4 % on the one-year LPR while pining for a nudge lower five years. The PBoC needs to exceed the market expectations, not hit them in this environment.”
Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (HONG:HK:HSI) fell 0.8%, while the Shanghai Composite (SHG:CN:SHCOMP) rose 0.5% and the Shenzhen Composite (SHENHZEN:CN:399106) gained 1%. Japan’s Nikkei (NIKKEI:JP:NIK) advanced 0.3%, while South Korea’s Kospi (KOREA:KR:180721) sank 0.5%. Stocks ticked up in Indonesia (INDONESIA:ID:JAKIDX) , but benchmark indexes in Taiwan (TAIWAN:TW:Y9999) and Singapore (SES:SG:STI) declined. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 (S&P:AU:XJO) gained 0.2%.
Worries remain about the impact the coronavirus outbreak will have on the global economy, and especially China’s. New cases in China slowed again Thursday, with just 394 new cases from the previous day. Still, China has reported 74,576 total cases, with 2,118 deaths, according to the Associated Press.
On Wall Street on Wednesday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq finished at all-time highs as investors were encouraged by comments from the Federal Reserve and measures China says it has taken to help coronavirus-stricken businesses.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW:DJIA) advanced 115.84 points, or 0.4%, to 29,348.03. The S&P 500 (S&P:SPX) rose 15.86 points, or 0.5%, to end at 3,386.15, for another record finish. The Nasdaq Composite (AMERICAN:COMP) added 84.44 points, or 0.9%, to end the session at a record at 9,817.18, its second straight all-time closing high.
West Texas Intermediate crude for March delivery added 18 cents to $53.47 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. April Brent crude, the global benchmark, gained 7 cents to $59.19 a barrel.
The dollar (XTUP:USDJPY) edged up to 111.40 Japanese yen.