Business Standard

Asian shares edge higher after U.S. tech shares bounce


By Masayuki Kitano
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Asian shares edged higher on Friday, after U.S. equities were buoyed by solid quarterly earnings and a rebound in technology stocks, while the euro languished near three-month lows after the European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.4 percent, while Japan's Nikkei gained 0.4 percent.
South Korea's KOSPI briefly rose more than 1 percent and set a one-month high, helped partly by hopes that a summit meeting between the leaders of North and South Korea would end their decades-long conflict and ease tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.
After paring some of their gains, South Korean equities were up 0.7 percent, while the South Korean won rose 0.3 percent against the dollar in onshore trade.
"The easing of tension and the possibility of a peace treaty coming on the horizon are bullish for the won and KOSPI," said Mingze Wu, FX trader of global payments for INTL FCStone Ltd in Singapore.
"However, it should be noted that prices did not have lasting weakness in the past during the periods of escalation, hence it'll be difficult to imagine a new bullish trend emerging just from this," Wu said.
The firmer tone of Asian equities came after each of Wall Street's major indexes rose 1 percent or higher on Thursday, while Inc shares jumped more than 6 percent in after-market trading after the online retailer reported a 43 percent surge in first-quarter revenue.
The S&P 500 rose 1 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite gained 1.6 percent.
Facebook surged 9.1 percent after posting an impressive earnings beat, which appeared to calm worries about the fallout from its use of consumer data.
So far, 45 percent of S&P 500 companies have reported first-quarter earnings, with 79.7 percent beating consensus estimates. Analysts see 23.1 percent earnings growth for the quarter, based on a blend of actual and estimated results.
The yield on U.S. 10-year Treasuries closed below the 3 percent level on Thursday as buyers emerged following a sell-off fuelled by worries over growing U.S. debt issuance and rising costs.
The U.S. 10-year yield slipped about 2 basis points in Friday's Asian trade to 2.973 percent.
The 10-year Treasury yield's spike to four-year highs above 3 percent this week had weighed on equities, amid concerns that rising corporate borrowing costs could dampen profits.
In currency markets, the euro languished near a 3-1/2-month low after European Central Bank President Mario Draghi hailed "solid" euro zone growth but kept interest rates unchanged.
The euro held steady at $1.2106, still not very far from Thursday's low of $1.20965, its lowest level since Jan. 12.
Weaker-than-expected economic data out of the euro zone has cast some doubt as to how quickly the ECB can head toward policy normalisation and weighed on the euro recently.
"The euro zone's economy doesn't seem to have the type of momentum it had last year," said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global markets analyst for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Singapore.
The dollar stood at 91.562 against a basket of six major currencies, trading near a 3-1/2 month high around 91.637 struck on Thursday.
Against the yen, the dollar eased 0.1 percent to 109.21 yen, inching away from a 2-1/2 month high of 109.49 yen set on Thursday.
The Bank of Japan is not expected to change settings its policy decision expected at around 0330-0500 GMT on Friday, although the debut of a dovish new deputy could widen a rift between advocates of continued stimulus and those wary of the rising costs of prolonged easing.
Oil prices edged lower on Friday but Brent largely held gains from the previous session amid concerns that Iran may face renewed sanctions, choking off supply.
Global benchmark Brent crude futures were down 0.3 percent at $74.53 a barrel, after rising 1 percent on Thursday.
(Reporting by Masayuki Kitano; Editing by Sam Holmes)

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First Published: Apr 27 2018 | 8:11 AM IST

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