Stocks sluggish, dollar firms as G20 reaction muted

Sun Feb 23, 2014 6:57pm EST
 
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By Lisa Twaronite

TOKYO (Reuters) - Asian stocks wobbled and the dollar firmed in early trade on Monday, as investors appeared to give no more than a passing nod to the Group of 20's latest commitment to spur faster global growth.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was struggling to turn positive, while Australian shares .AXJO shed about 0.1 percent.

On Wall Street on Friday, stocks were off slightly on options-related expirations.

The final weekend communique from the two-day meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bankers in Sydney said they would increase investment and employment, generating more than $2 trillion in additional output over five years while creating tens of million of new jobs, signaling optimism that the worst of crisis-era austerity was past.

The communique acknowledged emerging nations' concerns that the Federal Reserve consider the impact of its monetary stimulus withdrawal, which has led to bouts of capital flight from some of those markets.

However, minutes released last week from the Fed's most recent meeting showed that policymakers generally "anticipated that the economy would expand at a moderate pace in coming quarters," suggesting the pace of stimulus-tapering will continue for now.

"There was no realistic expectations that EM would get any relief but they may be more vulnerable to bad news in the aftermath." said Steven Englander, head of G10 currency FX strategy at CitiFX, in a note to clients.

"Similarly the free pass to tapering may be mildly USD positive," Englander added.   Continued...

 
Pedestrians walk past an electronic board showing various stock prices, which are reflected in a polished stone surface, outside a brokerage in Tokyo January 24, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino