Mon11202017

LAST_UPDATESun, 19 Nov 2017 10pm

Asian Stocks Rally On US Housing Data, Dollar Holds Gains

A man is reflected on an electronic board showing major Asian stock market indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, June 25, 2014. Pic: ReutersA man is reflected on an electronic board showing major Asian stock market indices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, June 25, 2014. Pic: ReutersTOKYO: Asian stocks were steady today after strong US housing data lifted Wall Street shares, helping nudge Treasury yields higher and keeping the dollar well bid against the euro and yen.

Global equities have attracted funds in recent sessions on expectations major central banks, including the US Federal Reserve, will continue to retain their easy money policies for a while.

Tokyo’s Nikkei gained. 0.2 per cent and South Korea shares rose 0.4 per cent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was flat

Wall Street drew support from robust housing data yesterday, which pushed up Treasury yields and drove the dollar to a nine-month high against the euro.

Riskier assets were also underpinned by receding geopolitical tensions stemming from the Ukraine conflict.

Strategists at Brown Brothers Harriman said the situation appeared to be developing into two tiers of risk, a lower one focused on ground conflict and a higher one centred on the international arena.

“It seems as if markets are now entirely focused on the upper tier of risk, and have come to accept an escalation of the proxy military conflict on the ground between the two countries (Ukraine and Russia),” they wrote in a note to clients.

The euro was little changed at US$1.3321, within reach of a nine-month low of US$1.3313 hit overnight.

The dollar traded near a two-week high of 102.94 yen.

Later in the day investors will be looking to the Federal Reserve’s minutes from the July 29-30 policy meeting, as well as Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s speech on Friday at a gathering of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

The Fed minutes will again be scanned for any clues on when policy makers plan to raise US interest rates, with a set of mixed data in recent months keeping traders guessing about the timing of the tightening cycle.

In commodities, gold was on the back foot after slipping overnight on buoyant equities and a stronger dollar.

Spot gold was little changed at US$1,295 an ounce after shedding 0.15 per cent the previous day.

— Reuters