Asia-Pacific stocks mixed as investors watch Treasury yields; Taiwan surges more than 3%

SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific were mixed in Wednesday trade as investors monitored bond yields following a recent rise.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.54% while the Topix index shed 0.13%.

Japan’s exports rose 6.4% in January as compared with a year earlier, according to trade statistics released Wednesday by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

The Taiex in Taiwan surged more than 3%, with shares of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company soaring about 5%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index gained 0.65%.

South Korea’s Kospi fell 1.22%. Shares in Australia were lower as the S&P/ASX 200 declined 0.32%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.16%.

Markets in mainland China remain closed on Wednesday for the Lunar New Year holidays.

Treasury yields jump

Overnight on Wall Street, the S&P 500 closed 0.1% lower at 3,932.59 while the Nasdaq Composite declined 0.3% to end its trading day at 14,047.50. The Dow Jones Industrial Average edged 64.35 points higher to a record close of 31,522.75.

The moves stateside came as the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield jumped 9 basis points on Tuesday to top 1.3% — a level not seen since February 2020. The 30-year rate also hit its highest level in a year. The yield on the 10-year Treasury last stood at 1.2972%.

“The move up in yields has been driven by increasing inflationary concerns amid a rise in energy prices along with the prospect of a big US fiscal stimulus and the global recovery entering a more solid stage as vaccine roll out lead to the reopening of economies,” Rodrigo Catril, a currency strategist at National Australia Bank, wrote in a note.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.653 following a bounce from levels below 90.3.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.94 per dollar, having weakened from levels below 105.2 against the greenback seen earlier this week. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7751 after seeing levels around $0.78 yesterday.

Oil prices were mixed in the afternoon of Asia trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures up 0.11% to $63.42 per barrel. U.S. crude futures dipped fractionally to $60.02 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Yun Li contributed to this report.