Asian shares slipped on Monday ahead of a week packed with central bank meetings and U.S. inflation data. The euro eked out a gain on relief the far right did not win the first round of the French presidential elections. French leader Emmanuel Macron and far right challenger Marine Le Pen qualified on Sunday for what promises to be a tightly fought presidential election runoff on April 24.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan easing 1.0%. Japan's Nikkei dropped 0.6%, having shed 2.6% last week. Chinese blue chips lost 1.8%. S&P 500 stock futures eased 0.4% and Nasdaq futures 0. 6%.

Markets have raced to price in the risk of ever-larger rate hikes from the Federal Reserve. BofA's U.S. economist Ethan Harris now expects half-point hikes at each of the next three meetings and a cycle peak around 3.25-3.50%.

China's inflation figures surprised on the high side on Monday and dented hopes for aggressive policy easing from Beijing. The risk is for a hawkish slant to the statement at the European Central Bank meeting on Thursday. "We expect a dramatic shift from the ECB, with the announcement of an early end to QE in May," noted analysts at TD Securities.
Posted by GU gustav
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