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Asia

Asian shares to focus on stronger lead from Wall Street following tax reform talk

Wall Street closed at record levels following comments about tax reform and fading investor fears ahead of Wednesday trade.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday that tax reform could be backdated to Jan. 1, 2017 as it would be a “big boon for the economy.” Mnuchin also told CNBC that the Trump administration was “super focused” on ensuring tax reform would be completed by the end of the year.

Mnuchin’s comments also supported the rise in U.S. Treasury yields, which climbed on data releases stateside. Yields of the 10-year U.S. Treasury note stood around 2.17 percent on Tuesday, having risen from the 2.13 percent seen on Monday.

Indexes on Wall Street closed at record levels. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 0.28 percent, or 61.49 points, to close at a record 22,118.86, the S&P 500 advanced 0.34 percent, or 8.37 points, to finish at 2,496.48 and the Nasdaq gained 0.34 percent, or 22.02 points, to close at 6,454.28.

Meanwhile, the dollar held onto Monday’s gains made against a basket of major currencies. The dollar index stood at 91.882 at 6:59 a.m. HK/SIN. Against the yen, the greenback climbed above the 110 level to last fetch 110.20 yen.

“With no major U.S. economic reports released [Tuesday], the gains in the greenback were driven by the continued rise in U.S. yields,” Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, said in a note.

Risk sentiment likely improved as immediate concerns over geopolitical tensions on the Korean Peninsula faded. The United Nations Security Council on Monday imposed tougher sanctions on North Korea, including a cap on oil imports. In response, the hermit state on Tuesday rejected those sanctions and said the U.S. would “suffer the greatest pain.”

Markets were also supported as damage caused by a downgraded hurricane in Florida looked to be lesser than originally thought.

Back in Asia, Nikkei futures traded in Chicago were 0.12 percent higher at 19,800 and Osaka futures were 0.24 percent off at 19,730 at 6:15 a.m. HK/SIN. Those compared to the Nikkei 225’s previous close of 19,776.62.

Down Under, SPI futures were up 0.4 percent at 5,770 compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s Tuesday close of 5,746.441.

In currencies, the pound firmed after U.K. August inflation rose 2.9 percent compared to one year ago, a tad higher than the 2.8 percent forecast by economists in a Reuters poll. The release of inflation data came ahead of the Bank of England’s interest rate decision on Thursday in the U.K.

Sterling traded at $1.3287 at 6:38 a.m. HK/SIN after strengthening as high as $1.3294 during the overnight session.

Apple suppliers, such as Hon Hai Precision Industry and Largan Precision, are expected to be in focus during the session after Apple unveiled its newest iPhone model — the iPhone X — at a product launch on Tuesday. Apple stock closed 0.4 percent lower.

On the energy front, oil prices rose in the previous session. U.S. crude rose 0.3 percent to settle at $48.23 a barrel and Brent crude gained 0.8 percent to settle at $54.27 a barrel. The moves higher followed an OPEC report that said oil demand would pick up in 2018, Reuters said.

Here’s Asia’s economic calendar for Wednesday (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 8:30 a.m.: Australia Westpac consumer confidence index
  • 10:00 a.m.: China August FDI

Source: cnbc china
Asian shares to focus on stronger lead from Wall Street following tax reform talk

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