Attention turned to the financial sector, which has shown weakness in recent weeks, at market open Monday as a number of big banks readied their quarterly results to be released this week. The five biggest U.S. banks by market capitalization -- The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE:GS), Bank of America Corp. (NYSE:BAC), Wells Fargo & Co. (NYSE:WFC), Citigroup Inc. (NYSE:C) and JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) -- were due to release their results.
Asian markets opened higher with the Hong Kong Heng Seng up 1.01 percent and the Shanghai Composite climbing 2.41 percent. The Singapore Straits Times Index was up 0.2 percent.
Companies in the financial sector were expected to report 8.4 percent growth, down from 14.8 percent at the start of the quarter and half the 17.8 percent at the start of the year, in part because of the U.S. Federal Reserve's decision to hold off on raising interest rates, Reuters reported.
Also weighing on investors' minds is a report by the Group of 30, which warned during the weekend rock bottom interest rates and printing money won't be enough to revive economic growth and may become permanent, Reuters reported.
"Central banks have described their actions as 'buying time' for governments to finally resolve the crisis. ... But time is wearing on, and [bond] purchases have had their price," the report said.
Reuters estimated the U.S. Fed, the Bank of England, the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan have spent about $7 trillion in quantitative easing efforts, inflating assets but failing to stimulate economic growth. Both the ECB and BOJ were poised for another round of bond buying, while the Fed and BOE were hesitating on interest rates.
The Group of 30 warned of a possible debt trap in advanced economies as growth estimates eased lower and easy money increased company leverage.
So where does the Fed go from here? New York Fed President William Dudley said in an interview last week with CNBC negative interest rates may be on the table, but, he cautioned, such action would not be a "panacea," MarketWatch reported.
Central bankers meeting in Lima, Peru, during the weekend called the Fed's hesitation on interest rates agonizing, the Wall Street Journal reported.
“Delaying the increase would not solve the situation,” Sukhdave Singh, deputy governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, said. “If it is a case that the emerging markets have taken on too much debt, there will be a day of reckoning. Delaying an interest rate hike does not necessarily address that issue.”