Published: Fri, January 12, 2018
Finance | By Loren Pratt

Asia Stocks Saunter Toward Historic High

Asia Stocks Saunter Toward Historic High

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 52.2 points, or 0.21 percent, to 25,333.6, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 6.67 points, or 0.24 percent, to 2,744.62 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 32.02 points, or 0.45 percent, to 7,131.56.

KOREAS: The region is closely watching developments from talks between delegates from North Korea and South Korea, the first such talks in two years.

Shares of automakers and technology companies were the leading gainers. Samsung's shares slumped 1.9 per cent.

Having reopened after a holiday on Monday on account of Coming-of-age Day, Nikkei 225 rose 0.8% today to its highest level since November 1991, catching up to previous session's gains in other markets.

The MSCI tech index for Asia was flat, after gaining more than 5 per cent this year.

The bellwether index added 0.57%, or 135.46 points, to end at 23 849.99 while the broader Topix index was up 0.48%, or 8.95 points, at 1 889.29.

CURRENCIES: The dollar slipped to 112.63 yen from 113.13 yen late Monday.

Analysts also said the rise in yields across the board is fuelling speculation as to whether this is the start of a sustained bear market for bonds.

The euro was steady at $1.1969, shy of its almost four-month high of $1.2089 set on Thursday. USA stocks were poised for a solid opening with Dow futures and the broader S&P 500 futures up 0.2 percent.

Underpinning the dollar, investors bet on further U.S. interest rate hikes after Friday's payrolls data did nothing to challenge the outlook for monetary policy tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve.

"Broadly, viewed in context, it was still a reasonably strong labor market", said Bill Northey, chief investment officer at the private client group of U.S. Bank in Helena, Montana.

US stock investors remain upbeat about fourth-quarter earnings season, which begins on Friday with results from JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N), with the focus expected to be on any comments related to the just-approved USA tax overhaul that includes hefty corporate tax cuts.

Oil prices rose, with US prices touching their highest since December 2014, supported by OPEC-led production cuts and expectations that USA crude inventories have dropped for an eighth week.

Brent was last up 13 cents at $67.75, while USA crude rose 16 cents to $61.60 per barrel.

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