Asian stocks were largely steady Wednesday after softer economic data weighed on U.S. equities. Treasuries maintained a rally as Federal Reserve officials again predicted transitory price pressures.
Shares fluctuated in Japan and climbed in Hong Kong. Chinese equities edged up after surging the most since July on Tuesday. U.S. equity contracts rose and Nasdaq 100 futures outperformed, after the S&P 500 slipped and the tech-heavy gauge made a small gain. Reports showed U.S. new home sales slid and consumer confidence fell slightly amid concerns over inflation and jobs.
Treasury yields are well below this year’s peaks, with more Fed officials joining a chorus downplaying price pressures. A dollar gauge touched the lowest level since early January. Oil was steady, gold erased 2021 losses and Bitcoin held below $40,000 in the wake of last week’s crypto rout.
Signs of easing economic momentum and quickening inflation are giving investors pause for thought as they consider the outlook for the exceptional stimulus buoying markets. Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida said price pressures would largely be transitory. He added officials may be ready to begin discussing how to taper asset purchases “in upcoming meetings,” echoing recent minutes.