Asian stocks inched up to near decade highs Thursday continuing to ride on a global equities rally while the dollar resumed its rise on the back of a spike in U.S. yields.
Trade was cautious, however, as investors waited for third-quarter economic growth data from China at 0200 GMT which is expected to show its momentum is starting to cool as the government reins in the property market and cracks down on riskier lending.
In commodities, Brent crude oil futures was 0.2 percent higher at $58.24 per barrel.
Brent had risen to a three-week high of 58.54 dollars a barrel on Wednesday on worries about tensions in Iraq and Iran, but lost steam after a surprising drop in U.S. refining rates and an unexpected build in fuel stocks signalled slower demand in the world’s top oil consumer.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.05 percent, nearing a 10-year peak scaled on Tuesday.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.4 percent to a fresh 21-year high, while South Korea’s KOSPI, on a record-breaking tear for the past week, nudged up to a historical high and Australian stocks added 0.3 percent.
The Dow closed above 23,000 for the first time on Wednesday driven by a jump in IBM after it hinted at a return to revenue growth.
Elsewhere, Germany’s DAX had risen to another record high overnight thanks to a soggy euro.
“The surrounding environment continues to favour the broader risk asset markets, with global economies recovering gradually and inflation staying low,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.
“Potential factors that could impact the markets in the short term are changes to the Federal Reserve’s leadership and China’s Communist Party conference.”
Current Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s term expires in February and investors are keen to see who U.S. President Donald Trump will pick as her replacement.
China’s twice-a-decade congress kicked off on Wednesday.
The focus is on how much power President Xi Jinping can cement, and whether he will use the extra clout to push through with more extensive but potentially risky economic and financial market reforms.
The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was 0.05 percent higher at 93.397.
The index has snapped a four-session winning run overnight on lackluster U.S. data but resumed its climb after the 10-year Treasury yield spiked 4 basis points with safe-haven bond prices falling on better investor risk appetite.
The dollar was steady at 112.930 yen after rising 0.6 percent overnight.
Frontpage February 24, 2020