Asia Stocks Extend Strong 2018 Start; Dollar Slips: Markets Wrap

Publikuota: 2018-01-05
Romeo Ranoco („Reuters“/„Scanpix“) nuotr.
Romeo Ranoco („Reuters“/„Scanpix“) nuotr.
 

Asian stocks are on the cusp of their best week in almost six months as investors around the world pile into equities at the start of 2018 amid robust economic data from the U.S. to Europe to China.

Benchmark indexes in Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai are in the green after U.S. shares surged to fresh records Thursday. The dollar is headed for a fourth straight week of losses as the global economic expansion spurs investors to look at markets with lower valuations and better risk-return prospects. Commodities steadied after a record run of gains, with oil trading close to its highest in three years.

Treasury yields are heading for a weekly advance before Friday’s U.S. employment report, projected to show that nonfarm payrolls rose 190,000 in December, less than in November. Thursday’s ADP measure of private U.S. payrolls rose more than forecast for December, signaling continued momentum in the world’s largest economy.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is poised to build on Thursday’s record high, while the MSCI Emerging Markets Index is at a level unseen since 2011.

Here are some key scheduled events for Friday:

Asia has a smattering of lower-tier data, including inflation for Taiwan and foreign reserves data for Thailand, which has been contending with a rising currency. India releases its estimate for 2018 economic growth. Europe brings German retail sales, EU CPI and French consumer confidence. Canada also reports labor market data Friday, while the U.S. reports on trade and factory orders. Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker and Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester speak on panels.

And these are the main moves in markets: Stocks

Japan’s Topix Index closed up 0.9 percent in Tokyo, and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average finished 0.9 percent higher. Futures on the S&P 500 Index increased 0.1 percent after the underlying gauge gained 0.4 percent Thursday to a record close. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was steady, while the Shanghai Composite rose 0.4 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index closed up 0.7 percent.

Currencies

The Bloomberg dollar index is down 0.5 percent for the week, at around the lowest since September. The euro was little changed on the day, trading at $1.2070, near a three-year high. The pound strengthened 0.1 percent to $1.3569 per dollar. The yen weakened 0.3% to 113.09 per dollar.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed at 2.46 percent. Australia’s 10-year yield slid about 4 basis points, to 2.64 percent.Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude was steady at $61.96 a barrel. Gold dipped 0.4 percent to $1,318.07 an ounce. The Bloomberg Commodity Index declined 0.1 percent Thursday, still near its highest since last February.

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