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Asian shares look set to track US gains; China data ahead

Stock indexes in Asia on Thursday bounced back from declines in the last session, tracking substantial overnight gains on Wall Street. Investors also awaited a raft of China data, as well as interest rate decisions from South Korea’s and Indonesia’s central banks due later in the day.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.73 percent in early trade, with gains seen in most energy-related stocks and banking names. Of note, SoftBank Group was lower by 0.2 percent despite most technology plays notching gains.

Fast Retailing, another heavily-weighted constituent of the index, rose 1.05 percent as other retail names traded mixed.

The Nikkei 225 touched a 26-year high earlier this week and has risen more than 3 percent so far this year.

In Seoul, the Kospi tacked on 0.48 percent as Samsung Electronics bounced 1.57 percent, reversing losses seen in the last session. Rival chipmaker SK Hynix saw steeper gains, climbing 3.37 percent in the morning. Other tech names traded broadly higher, but weakness was seen in retail sector stocks, with Lotte Shopping falling 1.7 percent.

Over in Sydney, the S&P/ASX 200 traded higher by 0.11 percent, with gains driven by the heavily-weighted financials sector in the early going. Australia’s “Big Four” banks all traded higher on the day: Westpac climbed 1.37 percent and ANZ rose 0.71 percent.

Energy-related plays and junior miners were mostly in negative territory.

On the corporate earnings front, Taiwan’s TSMC is slated to announce results on Thursday.

U.S. stocks closed higher, with the Dow Jones industrial average advancing 322.79 points to finish above the 26,000 level for the first time.

Other major stock indexes stateside also saw gains after the release of expectation-topping earnings from several U.S. corporates. U.S. investors also awaited developments related to a potential government shutdown should Congress fail to pass a funding bill by Friday.

Bitcoin appeared to steady after a wild ride last session, which saw the cryptocurrency falling for a time below the $10,000 mark.

The digital currency tumbled as low as $9,199.59 before paring some losses trade at $10,912.16 at 8:10 a.m. HK/SIN, according to industry site CoinDesk. That’s around 44 percent below its all-time high hit in December.

The move lower came after South Korea’s finance minister said this week that the shutdown of cryptocurrency exchanges was an option it was still considering. A Bloomberg report earlier in the week also said China intended to clampdown on the centralized trading of cryptocurrencies.

Meanwhile, the dollar pared some gains against a basket of currencies. The dollar index stood at 90.781 at 8:37 a.m. HK/SIN, below Wednesday’s close of 90.983.

The euro was steady at $1.2200 on Thursday, above its overnight low of $1.2188. The common currency had retreated from a three-year high overnight after several European Central Bank officials on Wednesday noted their concerns over recent strength in the currency.

Against the yen, the greenback traded at 111.31.

Thursday’s economic calendar is fairly crowded (all times in HK/SIN):

  • 9:00 a.m.: Bank of Korea interest rate decision
  • 9:30 a.m.: China house prices
  • 12:30 p.m.: Japan industrial production
  • 3:00 p.m.: China fourth-quarter GDP, industrial production and retail sales
  • 5:00 p.m.: Bank Indonesia rates decision

Source: cnbc china
Asian shares look set to track US gains; China data ahead

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