Tokyo, Japan (BBN) – Asian stocks climbed in Thursday trade, following the firmer lead from Wall Street in the last session.
Investors in the region also digested the release of Chinese inflation data and kept an eye on President Donald Trump’s stop in Beijing, CNBC.com.
MARKETS ON THE MOVE
Japanese markets soared on Wednesday, with the Nikkei 225 rising 1.98 percent to trade above the 23,000 mark late in the morning. The broader Topix index rose 1.41 percent on positive earnings expectations, touching levels not seen since 1991 earlier in the session. Trading houses, retailers and financials notched gains on the day.
Across the Korean Strait, the Kospi edged up 0.18 percent.
Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 advanced 0.51 percent. Most mining stocks climbed, but a number of energy-related names pared some gains made earlier in the week.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.76 percent. Mainland markets, meanwhile, made smaller gains: The Shanghai Composite traded 0.1 percent higher and the Shenzhen Composite rose 0.27 percent.
Asian corporates on Thursday’s earnings calendar include Toshiba and Singtel.
U.S. stocks closed higher on Wednesday even though banks finished the session lower. The Dow Jones industrial average edged up 0.03 percent, or 6.13 points, to close at 23,563.36.
THE LEAD UP
The Reserve Bank of New Zealand kept rates unchanged at 1.75 percent on Thursday as was expected, but its accompanying comments were seen as hawkish by markets. The Kiwi dollar pared some if its gains made following the announcement to trade at $0.6945 at 9:40 a.m. HK/SIN. The currency had spiked as high as $0.6973 in the Wednesday session, compared to levels around the $0.692 handle seen before the announcement.
President Donald Trump’s tour of Asia also remained in the spotlight. Trump is expected to discuss issues relating to trade and North Korea with Chinese leaders in Beijing on Thursday. The president also took to Twitter to warn North Korea not to underestimate the U.S., repeating statements he had made when addressing South Korea’s National Assembly on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, China October consumer prices rose 1.9 percent compared to one year ago, a touch above the 1.8 percent rise forecast in a Reuters poll. Producer prices also topped expectations, increasing 6.9 percent on year compared to the 6.6 percent forecast.
Stateside, off-year elections saw Democrats score victories in Virginia and New Jersey in Tuesday polls. While “there was some chatter about yesterday’s U.S. governor elections … and what they could mean or signal about the viability of some of the U.S. administration’s reforms,” that had little impact on the markets, Martin Whetton, a strategist at ANZ, said in a note.
On the matter of tax reform, U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan indicated there would still be growth even with a phased implementation of corporate tax cuts, Reuters said. That followed a Washington Post report on Tuesday that said a one-year delay in the implementation of tax reform measures was being considered.
The dollar was a tad firmer on Thursday after slipping in the last session. Against the Japanese yen, the greenback traded at 114.03 at 9:42 a.m. HK/SIN. The dollar index, which tracks the U.S. currency against a basket of six currencies, stood at 94.945.
Commenting on moves in the foreign exchange markets in response to U.S. political developments, Stephen Innes, APAC head of trading at OANDA, said markets were struggling to find a reliable argument to stick to.
“[M]uddling through the political bluster is more of a distraction than a guide,” he added.
Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ intends to purchase a stake worth around 40 percent in Indonesia’s Bank Danamon, Nikkei reported. A spokesman from MUFG said the report was not based on any announcements made by the bank. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group stock was up 1.62 percent and shares of Bank Danamon jumped 10.82 percent following the news. A spokesman from MUFG said the report was not based on any announcements made by the bank.
Shares of Japan Display tumbled 9.54 percent. The company on Wednesday posted a loss of 36.6 billion yen ($321 million) for the quarter ending September 30. That was larger than the loss of 4.9 billion yen it reported for the same period one year ago.
Meanwhile, China’s Tencent has taken a 12 percent stake in U.S. social media company Snap. The news came after Snap missed third-quarter revenue expectations on Tuesday. Tencent shares advanced 1.5 percent. Other Hong Kong tech shares also rose: China Literature climbed 5.27 percent, extending gains made after the stock closed up nearly 90 percent on its Wednesday debut.