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Asian stocks push higher led by tech; dollar slips

Jan 25 2019 08:46
Adam Haigh, Bloomberg

Stocks in Asia climbed as a rally in technology shares outweighed conflicting signals over US-China trade progress. The dollar slipped against all major peers bar the yen.

Shares rose across the region alongside European and US futures. Technology companies led the way following a strong US session for chipmakers.

Sentiment remained fragile as Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said the world’s two biggest economies remain "miles and miles" apart on trade, though White House economic adviser Lawrence Kudlow later said President Donald Trump is optimistic about the trade talks and spoke positively about the January jobs report.

The pound climbed on reports Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party has privately agreed to back the Brexit deal.

Meantime, Treasuries edged lower after Thursday’s climb, while oil rose for a third day as a deepening crisis in Venezuela that threatens to complicate OPEC’s task of balancing world oil supplies overshadowed a surprise jump in US crude inventories.

Global equities are rounding out the first down week in five as investors question the pace of the post-Christmas rally and earnings season rolls on.

Traders are scrambling for hints at progress in trade talks ahead of discussions next week in Washington and are assessing the economic impact of the longest government shutdown in US history that’s hampering the normal flow of growth data.

The Senate voted down a measure Thursday that could have ended the deadlock.

"I’m reasonably positive," Axel Merk, chief investment officer at Merk Investments LLC in San Francisco, told Bloomberg TV. "I don’t think we have an imminent recession which is usually one of the key ingredients to a real bear market, but it’s prudent to diversify."

Elsewhere, Australian bonds extended gains amid worries on economic growth. Venezuelan bonds earlier built on their rally on speculation President Nicolas Maduro’s opponents will gain momentum in their efforts to oust him.

These are the main moves in markets:


The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained 1% as of 13:17 Hong Kong time. Japan’s Topix Index rose 0.9%. Futures on the S&P 500 Index added 0.5% after the underlying gauge rose 0.1%. Hang Seng Index added 1.3%. Shanghai Composite index gained 0.7%. Euro Stoxx 50 futures rose 0.5%.


The yen fell 0.1% to 109.75 per dollar. The offshore yuan added 0.2% to 6.7825 per dollar. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.2%. The euro traded at $1.1324, up 0.2%. The British pound rose 0.5% to $1.3132.


The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 2.73%. Australia’s 10-year bond yield dropped six basis points to 2.21%.


West Texas Intermediate crude rose 1.3% to $53.84 a barrel. Gold held at $1 282.08 an ounce.

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