Asian Stocks Climb on Growth Outlook; Yen Rises: Markets Wrap

Publikuota: 2018-01-15
Kim Kyung-Hoon („Reuters“/„Scanpix“) nuotr.
Kim Kyung-Hoon („Reuters“/„Scanpix“) nuotr.

Adam Haigh, Bloomberg

Asian stocks built on the strong start to this year and headed for a fresh record high amid optimism in global growth. The yen advanced as traders continued to pile out of bets against the Japanese currency.

Hong Kong’s benchmark is making a run at its record close since the global financial crisis, and Japanese equities were rising even in face of the yen’s appreciation. Softbank Group was leading the Nikkei 225 Stock Average, benefiting from speculation of a listing for its mobile unit. The yuan touched a two-year high after the People’s Bank of China raised the currency’s fixing to the highest since May 2016.

Both the yen and euro have been lifted by bets the Japanese and European central banks this year will scale back their monetary stimulus. Elsewhere, West Texas Intermediate oil continues to trade above $64, and bitcoin slipped closer towards $13,000. U.S. markets are shut Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday after the S&P 500 Index closed on Friday at an all-time high.

Improvements in the global economy are buoying sentiment in the early part of 2018 and equities are building on the stellar gains seen last year. Retail sales spurred optimism in the American economy and JPMorgan Chase & Co. signaled the recent tax cut law will boost profits. An acceleration in U.S. core inflation offered another sign that the recovery is gathering pace nine years after the global recession.

Growth data from China this week will be closely watched, along with talks to form a coalition government in Germany, following signs of progress last week. Money managers will assess progress in corporate America this week with further earnings releases, while results are due across the world from firms in a range of sectors.

Here’s what to watch out for this week:

Earnings season ramps up: Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co., ASML Holdings NV, Bank of America Corp. and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. are among some notable releases. Industrial production in the U.S. probably increased in December, a report may show Wednesday, completing a solid year for manufacturing. U.S. housing starts probably slipped in December for the first time in three months as frigid winter weather impeded work, forecasts show ahead of Thursday’s release. The Bank of Canada’s interest-rate decision comes Wednesday. Monetary policy announcements are also due in South Korea, South Africa and Turkey. China releases fourth quarter GDP, December industrial production and retail sales Thursday.

And these are the main moves in markets: Stocks

Japan’s Topix index rose 0.5 percent at 2:11 p.m. in Tokyo. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index advanced 0.7 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 0.1 percent. Equity gauges in India, Singapore and Taiwan also rose, while the Shanghai Composite was little changed. Futures on the S&P 500 climbed 0.3 percent. The underlying index rose 0.7 percent on Friday and is up 4.2 percent this year. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed 0.8 percent, taking the year’s surge to 4.9 percent, on course to close at a fresh all-time high.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.3 percent after falling 0.9 percent last week, ending around the weakest since September. The euro rose 0.1 percent to $1.2211, after jumping 1.4 percent in Friday. The pound was at $1.3737, near the strongest since June 2016, the month of the Brexit vote. The yen was up 0.3 percent at 110.69.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries was 2.55 percent at Friday’s close, up about seven basis points for the week. Trading is shut Monday for the U.S. holiday. Australia’s 10-year yield was at 2.77 percent, up about two basis points from Friday’s close.

Commodities

Gold futures were up 0.4 percent at $1,342.56 an ounce, following five weeks of gains. West Texas Intermediate crude rose 0.3 percent to $64.50 a barrel in a sixth day of gains, set for the longest winning streak since July.

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