Asia markets mixed, Nikkei slips after disappointing data – CNBC

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Evan Lucas, market strategist at IG, said in a morning note that Yellen’s speech has “painted a very dovish picture for the inflation outlook in 2016 and although she didn’t directly use this term, she clearly sees the U.S. economy as two-speed.”

“Employment and net wealth have been positives over the past seven years, yet net exports and manufacturing are shrinking and dragging on growth, which is causing a mixed picture,” Lucas added.

In the wake of Yellen’s comments, the dollar index, which measures the strength of the dollar against a basket of currencies, retreated to the 95 handle, trading at 95.188 as of 8:09 a.m. HK/SIN, compared with levels above 96 before the remarks.

The Japanese yen strengthened against the dollar, with the dollar/yen pair trading down 0.2 percent at 112.46, compared with levels above 113 earlier in the week. Major exporters were lower, with Toyota off 1.64 percent, Nissan off 2.27 percent and Honda down 1.48 percent. A stronger yen is a negative for exporters as it lowers the value of their repatriated profits and makes their products less competitive overseas.

Down Under, the Australian dollar also strengthened after Yellen’s remarks, fetching $0.7647, compared with levels around $0.7530 on Tuesday prior to the speech.

Oil prices fell overnight, with U.S. crude futures settling $1.11 lower at $38.28 a barrel, while the global benchmark Brent settled down $1.13 at $39.14.

Reuters reported that the decision by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to resume oil production at the jointly operated 300,000-barrel-per-day Khafji field, at a time when production is supposed to be frozen, triggered the selloff in oil.

U.S. equities closed up overnight, with the Dow Jones industrial average higher by 0.56 percent, the S&P 500 up by 0.88 percent and the Nasdaq composite adding 1.67 percent.

— Everett Rosenfeld and Reuters contributed to this report.

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Asia markets mixed, Nikkei slips after disappointing data – CNBC}