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Morning Bid: Bullish momentum fades, yen intervention risks rise

A man walks past an electronic screen displaying the current Japanese Yen exchange rate against the U.S. dollar and other foreign currencies in Tokyo

By Jamie McGeever

(Reuters) - A look at the day ahead in Asian markets.

Asian markets reach the mid-point of the week still sailing in fairly calm waters, although signs that the recent decline in U.S. bond yields and the dollar is losing steam could be about to suck the life out of the recent rally in risk assets too.

There is some evidence over the last 24 hours of this playing out - Hong Kong stocks finally posted a down day on Tuesday, and broad Asian and emerging market equity indexes essentially ended the day flat.

That may be nothing more than rational profit-taking and position-trimming. The Hang Seng had been on its longest daily winning streak since 2018, and earlier on Tuesday the MSCI Asia ex-Japan and Emerging Market indexes had hit new 15-month and two-year highs, respectively.


Japanese markets, meanwhile, are once again dancing to their own tune with the yen back on the slide after last week's suspected intervention, which has helped lift the Nikkei to its highest since April 15 and close to the 39,000 point mark.

There doesn't appear to be any obvious local catalyst on Wednesday to give markets much impetus one way or the other, with only unemployment and trade figures from the Philippines and trade data from Taiwan on the calendar.

The yen and Indonesian rupiah could get a steer from their respective central bank chiefs - Bank of Japan governor Kazuo Ueda speaks at a seminar hosted by Japan's Yomiuri newspaper, and Bank Indonesia governor Perry Warjiyo addresses the current economic situation in a briefing with the press.

With the yen falling back toward 155.00 per dollar, Japan's top currency diplomat Masato Kanda warned on Tuesday that Tokyo may have to take action against any disorderly, speculative-driven FX moves.

Meanwhile, investors got another reminder on Tuesday - as if they needed one - of frayed Sino-U.S. relations when TikTok and its parent company ByteDance sued in U.S. federal court seeking to block a law signed by President Biden that would force the divestiture of the popular short video app or ban it.

This comes the same day Chinese President Xi Jinping left France after a two-day trip during which he offered no major concessions on trade or foreign policy, even as President Emmanuel Macron pressed him on market access.

French and Chinese companies concluded some agreements on Monday ranging from energy, finance and transport, but most were agreements to cooperate or renewed commitments to work together. Nothing significant enough to suggest icy trade tensions between China and the West are about to thaw.

On the corporate front, Japanese automaker Toyota releases full year 2024 earnings. Analysts are expecting record-breaking results from the world's top-selling automaker, lifted by demand for hybrids.

Other big firms reporting include Mitsubishi and Yamaha.

Here are key developments that could provide more direction to markets on Wednesday:

- Bank of Japan Governor Ueda speaks

- Taiwan trade (April)

- Toyota earnings (FY 2024)

(Reporting and Writing by Jamie McGeever; Editing by Josie Kao)