Stock markets were mostly steady in the Asia-Pacific region on Friday following strong rebounds off session lows a day earlier and overnight gains on Wall Street.
Investors continue to take a wait-and-see approach amid the week’s developments, which were centered on U.S. politics but also included troubles in Brazil after asset prices there plunged on Thursday amid a scandal involving that country’s president.
After two days of selling, Asian stocks appear to be consolidating.
“However, I think that a lot of traders are probably yet to be convinced that we have seen the end of this turmoil, and that I think this accounts for the steady market action with no real signs of any bargain-hunting” early Friday, said Ric Spooner, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
Australia again underperformed the region as stocks continue to be pressured by a proposed bank tax on the nation’s biggest lenders. The industry’s Big Four, which collectively make up about a quarter of the weighting in the S&P/ASX 200
, were down some 1% on Friday. Westpac Banking Corp.
and National Australia Bank
have dropped about 6% this week.
The headline stock index was down 0.5%, putting the week’s decline above 2% and on pace for its worst week since October.
Other markets were more muted, with the Nikkei Stock Average