Financial news

Asia stocks mostly trade higher; Wall Street roars to new record highs

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Via CNBC

Stocks in Asia mostly rose in Friday morning trade as shares on Wall Street jumped to new record highs overnight stateside.

Mainland Chinese stocks rose in early trade, with the Shanghai composite up more than 0.1% while the Shenzhen component gaining 0.37%. The Shenzhen composite also added 0.288%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index also gained 0.83%.

In South Korea, the Kospi made a turnaround from its earlier slip as it rose 0.29% as shares of industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics surged more than 2%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 dipped fractionally in morning trade while the Topix index added 0.12%.

Japanese retail sales data for November released earlier on Friday came in worse than expected. Retail sales declined 2.1% in November as compared with a year earlier, government data showed. That was below a median market forecast for a 1.7% decline, according to Reuters. The data follows a sales tax hike that went into effect in October.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia rose as they returned from the holidays, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.28%.

Overall, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan was 0.48% higher.

Overnight stateside, stocks on Wall Street surged to new records. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 105.94 points to close at 28,621.39 while the S&P 500 added 0.51% to 3,239.91. The Nasdaq Composite ended its trading day 0.78% higher at 9,022.39, topping the 9,000 mark for the first time ever. The three major averages all hit new all-time highs.

Recent market sentiment has been boosted since the U.S. and China announced they have reached a phase one trade agreement earlier in December. The two economic powerhouses are in the midst of translating the deal, with the aim of signing it in early January.

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In a regular press briefing on Thursday, the Chinese Commerce Ministry said China is in close touch with the U.S. on signing the initial trade pact. That came after U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday the deal is “getting done,” adding there will be a signing ceremony with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

“China has been lukewarm about the trade agreement, expressing less enthusiasm than the US but (Thursday’s) comments is the strongest confirmation to date that there will be no reneging on the deal,” Kathy Lien, managing director of foreign exchange strategy at BK Asset Management, wrote in a note dated Thursday.

Currencies and oil

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was last at 97.502 after seeing earlier highs above 97.6 yesterday.

The Japanese yen traded at 109.45 after weakening to levels above 109.6 earlier in the week. The Australian dollar was at $0.6949 after rising from levels below $0.693 yesterday.

Oil prices rose in the morning of Asian trading hours, with international benchmark Brent crude futures adding 0.22% to $68.07 per barrel. U.S. crude futures also gained 0.26% to $61.84 per barrel.

— CNBC’s Yun Li contributed to this report.


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