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Stocks & Shares

Asian shares track Wall Street higher

Wall Street higher

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.6%, and Nikkei gained 1.08%

Shares in Asia advanced on Friday after a strong day on Wall Street which also supported risk-friendly currencies and hurt the safe-haven yen, though worries about the Chinese economy capped gains.

Oil prices were also testing new multi-year highs, a drag on growth in energy-importing markets in north Asia, but good news for energy-exporting markets in Southeast Asia.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.6%, and Japan’s Nikkei gained 1.08%.

U.S. stocks powered ahead overnight after data showed a drop in new claims for unemployment benefits, lower-than-expected factory gate price inflation and forecast-beating results for the four largest U.S. consumer banks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) climbed 1.57%, the S&P 500 jumped 1.46%, and the Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.68%, though analysts said Asia looked unlikely to match these rises.

US gains will boost sentiment in pockets, but what we’ve seen in Asian markets recently, especially mainland China and Hong Kong shares, is regional concerns have overridden some of the more positive sentiment that comes out of U.S. markets, said Kyle Rodda, an analyst at IG markets. My sense is that things are going to remain fairly mixed and volatile in Asian markets.

U.S. stock futures, the S&P 500 e-minis, advanced 0.15%.

Chinese blue chips fell soon after the bell, but were last flat, while Hong Kong shares returned from a one-day break to open higher before retreating also to be flat.

A data dump from China due Monday is high on investors’ minds, with the world’s second-largest economy due to report third-quarter GDP figures as well as monthly investment and activity figures.

We expect GDP growth to slow to 4.6% year-on-year in the third quarter from 5.6% previously, in view of persistent weakness in consumption and services amid repeated COVID outbreaks, and the fading of the low year-earlier base, said Barclays analysts in a note.

On Thursday, China’s September factory-gate inflation rose to a record on soaring commodity prices, but weak demand capped consumer inflation, leaving policymakers to walk a tight rope between supporting the economy and further stoking producer prices.

In currency markets, the dollar rose again to a near-three- year high on the yen on Friday with one dollar buying 113.89 yen, the most since December 2018.

The dollar index was marginally lower on the day, at 94.00 and set for its first weekly decline versus major peers since the start of last month, having lost a little ground on sterling and the euro.

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