Friday 01.50 GMT
What you need to know
- Hang Seng leads Asia stocks higher on US-China trade hopes
- Pound stable just below $1.30 despite Brexit uncertainty
- Oil benchmark gains after volatile session
Stocks rose on Friday as gains and positive sentiment on Wall Street — boosted by hopes of a US-China trade deal — rolled into the Asian trading morning. Those gains extended to oil benchmarks while currency and debt markets remained quiet.
Asia-Pacific equities clambered higher on Friday, with all major stock benchmarks buoyed by hopes that a more permanent truce might be brokered in the US-China trade war.
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng led gains with a rise of 1.3 per cent with a 1.4 per cent climb by technology stocks and 0.8 per cent gains for financials. China’s CSI 300 index of Shanghai and Shenzhen-listed stocks rose 0.8 per cent.
In Taiwan the Taiex was up 0.1 per cent as a drop of 1.4 per cent for Apple supplier TSMC weighed on the index after the company forecast a steep drop in revenue growth amid a sharp downturn in smartphone sales.
In Tokyo the Topix rose 1.1 per cent, with gains across all sectors, while Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 gained 0.6 per cent as mining stocks, which are heavily exposed to China, up 0.9 per cent.
The gains followed on from a solid day on Wall Street, where the S&P 500 gained 0.8 per cent in the wake of media reports claiming US officials were weighing up plans to scale back tariffs on Chinese imports, bolstering hopes for a breakthrough in the trade dispute between the two countries.
Forex and fixed income
Foreign exchange markets were quiet on Friday with the dollar index measuring the greenback against a basket of peers virtually flat at 96.058.
The pound, which had edged toward the $1.30 mark on Thursday despite Brexit uncertainty, was essentially unchanged at $1.2981.
Sovereign bond markets were muted as well with yields, which move opposite prices, on 10-year US Treasuries up 1 basis point at 2.756 per cent.
Oil prices were rising after wild swings during Thursday’s session left them not far from where they started. Brent crude, the international benchmark, rose 0.8 per cent in Asia to $61.67 a barrel while US marker West Texas Intermediate climbed 1.1 per cent to $52.63.
Gold was flat at $1,291.36 an ounce.
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