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Asia shares rally as Wall St bounce relieves
Visitors look at a stock quotation board at Tokyo Stock Exchange, October 11, 2018. — Reuters pic
Visitors look at a stock quotation board at Tokyo Stock Exchange, October 11, 2018. — Reuters pic

SYDNEY, Oct 17 — Asian got some much needed relief today after upbeat US earnings reports drove a rebound on and helped restore a little confidence in emerging market stocks and currencies.

Japan’s Nikkei leaped out of the gates with an early rise of 1.3 per cent, but still has a long way to go to recoup the past week’s losses.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia- shares outside Japan added 0.5 per cent and South Korea 1.5 per cent.

had jumped more than 2 per cent yesterday in reaction to upbeat earnings reports from major companies including UnitedHealth and Goldman Sachs.

“Analysts are looking at this reporting season in particular and the general data over the next couple of months for signs that the receding tailwinds of fiscal stimulus and the headwinds of tariffs are going to hit the US market simultaneously,” said Rakuten Securities Australia COO, Nick Twidale.

“On first viewing this doesn’t appear to be happening.”

On Wall Street, the three major indexes tallied their biggest one-day percentage gains since March. The Dow jumped 2.17 per cent, while the S&P 500 climbed 2.15 per cent and the Nasdaq 2.89 per cent.

Netflix Inc shot 12 per cent higher after the close as its results far outstripped market expectations with 7 million streaming customers added.

The blockbuster outcome sent shares of Alphabet Inc, Facebook Inc and Amazon.com Inc up about 1 per cent in extended trade.

The four make up the so-called FAANG group of high-growth companies that in recent months has lost some of its momentum following market-leading gains in recent years.

The US economic news was also robust, notably a sharp rise in job openings to a fresh all-time high.

My biggest threat

All this cheer favoured beaten-down currencies in emerging markets while taking some steam out of the safe-haven yen. The MSCI Emerging Market Currency Index rose for a third straight session.

The latest survey of global fund managers by BofA Merrill Lynch found they saw emerging market currencies as the most undervalued ever against the .

The dollar itself was up on the yen at 112.31 but flat on the euro at US$1.1578. Against a basket of currencies, the US dollar idled at 95.080 having touched a two-week trough overnight.

Not helping the US dollar was fresh criticism of the Federal Reserve from US President Donald Trump, who told Fox Business Network: “My biggest threat is the Fed.”

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Trump has recently castigated the for raising interest rates.

“While such name calling shouldn’t mean anything in terms of what the Fed actually does, it is a factor which somewhat undermines sentiment towards the dollar,” said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at NAB.

“It’s a contributory factor, albeit minor, to recent poor performance of the US dollar.”

In commodity markets, held near recent 11-week highs at US$1,225.64 (RM5,091.42).

Oil prices firmed as expectations of higher US shale output vied with the risk that crude supply from the Middle East could be disrupted by looming US sanctions on Iran and growing tensions with top exporter Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia has been under pressure since prominent Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi disappeared after visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.

US crude rose 35 cents to US$72.27, while crude climbed 33 cents to US$81.74 a barrel. — Reuters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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