The recent upturn in New York share prices could presage a more stable market in Japan, too.
The Tokyo stock market has also taken comfort from the Bank of Japan’s unexpectedly bold move to bring the overnight interest rate effectively back to zero.
The benchmark 225-issue Nikkei average now appears poised to test the 15,000 level in the near term, though volatility will be inevitable along the way.
There is a virtual consensus that the U.S. gross domestic product managed to stay in positive territory in the January-March quarter, after allowing for inflation.
The New York stock market is also counting on tax cuts to the tune of $60 billion to $85 billion by the administration of President George W. Bush.
The optimism over economic prospects, coupled with the U.S. Federal Reserve’s surprise interest rate cuts last week, has helped ease worries about company profits.
The Fed’s policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee lowered the target for the federal funds rate by a half-point to 4.5 percent, bringing it below its European counterpart, the refinancing rate, which now stands at 4.75 percent.
It is feared that the reversal in interest rate differentials between the U.S. and the Euro zone could prompt a switch in capital flow away from the U.S. financial markets and into the euro-zone markets.
The question was whether the European Central Bank would hold interest rates steady or slash them at its policy-setting meeting Thursday, following the Fed’s lead.
Should the ECB opt to lower the key short-term interest rates, the concerted Fed-ECB move to lower rates will no doubt nudge other central banks to follow their lead, making bank lending less costly to obtain worldwide.
There appears a good chance that fund managers around the world, with a combined wherewithal estimated at $30 trillion, will switch from fixed-income, interest-bearing securities in favor of equity investments for capital gains, a typically bullish scenario for stock markets.
The Tokyo market is awaiting restructuring measures expected to be worked out by the new Cabinet of Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
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