Asian Stocks Advance as Banks Rally; Dollar Slips

asian stocksA man walks past an electronic monitor displaying the closing figure of the Nikkei 225 Stock Average, center top, outside a securities firm in Tokyo. Photographer: Yuriko Nakao
  • Asian Stocks Advance as Banks Rally; Dollar Slips

Asian stocks gained as banks followed a rally in the U.S. sparked by the Trump administration’s plan to roll back financial regulations. The dollar slipped as a U.S. jobs report showed weaker wage growth.

Equities from Japan to Hong Kong climbed after the S&P 500 Index closed within a point of its all-time high on Friday. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. jumped to the highest level of the year. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell after completing a sixth weekly decline for its longest stretch of losses since August 2010. The South Korean won extended the biggest weekly advance since July. Oil edged higher, after three straight weeks of gains.

The dollar dropped Friday as the latest jobs report showed weak wage growth even as hiring picked up, bolstering the Federal Reserve’s case for a gradual approach to tightening. Those losses were temporarily reversed after San Francisco Fed President John Williams reiterated that three rate hikes this year is a reasonable guess. Odds for a Fed rate hike in March are lower since Thursday. The data capped a week that saw monetary policy makers in Japan, the U.K. and the U.S. stand pat as they assess the impact of America’s new leadership on global growth.

Global financial shares are rallying for a second day after U.S. President Donald Trump moved to roll back bank regulations enacted to stop the next financial crisis. The group has soared 38 percent from a low a year ago. Banks in Japan are also benefiting from robust earnings, as surging global bond yields and market volatility since Trump’s election victory have been a boon to fixed-income trading.

Here are the main market moves:

Stocks

  • Japan’s Topix index rose 0.2 percent as of 12:44 p.m. in Tokyo, after its biggest weekly decline since November. Mitsubishi UFJ jumped 4 percent after third-quarter profit unexpectedly rose 17 percent.
  • Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index was little changed, erasing an earlier gain of 0.7 percent. South Korea’s Kospi Index advanced 0.2 percent, while Taiwan’s Taiex jumped 0.8 percent. New Zealand’s market is closed for a holiday.
  • Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.7 percent, while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index rose 1.4 percent. India’s Sensex added 0.6 percent to the highest since October.
  • The S&P 500 climbed 0.7 percent to 2,297.42 on Friday, within a point of its all-time closing record set Jan. 25.

Currencies

  • The dollar fell against most of its major peers. The yen climbed 0.2 percent to 112.39 per dollar.
  • South Korea’s won added 0.8 percent and the Taiwanese dollar advanced 0.4 percent. The currencies have been among the top performers in Asia this year, bolstered by the Trump administration’s rhetoric on exchange-rate manipulation.

Commodities

  • Oil rose 0.2 percent to $53.93. Oil capped a third weekly gain on Friday as the U.S. imposed fresh sanctions on Iran after a missile test and OPEC reached about 60 percent of its output-cut target.
  • Gold advanced for a third day, climbing 0.3 percent to $1,224, which would be the highest closing level since November.

Bonds

  • Australian 10-year yields dropped for the first time in four sessions, falling three basis points to 2.77 percent.
  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries lost one basis point to 2.46 percent.

About the Author

Samed Olukoya
CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade long experience in the global financial market. Contact Samed on Twitter: @sameolukoya; Email: [email protected]

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