TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks held their ground on Friday after Wall Street gained on a surge in oil prices as attacks on tankers in the Gulf of Oman stoked U.S.-Iran tensions and raised concerns over supply flows through one of the world’s main sea lanes.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was little changed.
Stocks - % - Japan - Nikkei - %
Australian stocks edged up 0.05% while Japan’s Nikkei dipped 0.1%.
Wall Street shares have had a strong run in June on hopes the Federal Reserve will ease monetary policy soon to counter a slowing global economy due to the escalating trade war with China. The S&P 500 index is up about 5% so far for the month.
Equity - Market - Gains - Fed - June
But equity market gains were limited ahead of the Fed’s June 18-19 meeting, which will give investors an opportunity to see if the Fed’s monetary policy stance is in sync with market expectations for a near-term rate cut.
“There is a large degree of uncertainty going into next week’s FOMC (Federal Reserve Open Committee) meeting as market reaction will differ significantly depending on whether the Fed hints toward easing policy,” said Shusuke Yamada, chief Japan FX and equity strategist at Bank Of America Merrill Lynch.
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