Wednesday November 8, 2017
02:09 PM GMT+8

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People walk past a panel displaying the benchmark Hang Seng Index during afternoon trading outside a bank in Hong Kong. — Reuters picPeople walk past a panel displaying the benchmark Hang Seng Index during afternoon trading outside a bank in Hong Kong. — Reuters picSYDNEY, Nov 8 — Asian stocks were mixed as a rally that lifted regional equities to the highest levels in at least a decade stalled. The dollar came under pressure after advancing against G10 peers amid concern about the progress of US tax reforms.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average — which rallied to close to its strongest level since January 1992 yesterday — fell as much as 0.8 per cent before trimming its losses. Stocks climbed in Hong Kong, where e-book publisher China Literature Ltd jumped as much as 81 per cent above its IPO price in its debut. S&P 500 Index futures declined. The dollar slipped and the yen and Australian dollar edged higher after a Washington Post report that Senate Republican leaders are considering a delay in the implementation of a corporate-tax cut. Oil declined after recent rallies.

Geopolitics remain a focus as US President Donald Trump continues his tour of Asia. Addressing South Korea’s National Assembly today, he called on all nations to deny aid and assistance to North Korea as a way to choke off the rogue regime. He said he’s ready to offer North Korea “a path to a much better future” if it puts an end to its nuclear ambitions. The US president aborted plans for a surprise visit to the demilitarised zone dividing South Korea and North Korea earlier due to heavy fog.

The US president is expected to tackle issues such as North Korea and trade with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping. Trump then attends the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam later this week, where he will be among 21 leaders including Xi and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. North Korea and Saudi Arabia are like to be among the dominant topics.

Equity indexes across the Persian Gulf were among the world’s worst performers yesterday amid a widening crackdown on corruption in Saudi Arabia. The kingdom’s Tadawul All Share Index at one point fell the most in a year before regaining some of its losses.

China’s exports increased 6.9 per cent in dollar terms in October from a year earlier, the customs administration said today.

Here are key events to watch out for this week:

US consumer sentiment probably cooled in early November from a more than 13-year high; the University of Michigan’s report is out on Friday. OPEC releases its World Oil Outlook. Thailand is expected to leave interest rates unchanged today. Argentina’s central bank unexpectedly raised borrowing costs.

Mexico, New Zealand and Malaysia are also holding monetary-policy meetings this week. The European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and UK Brexit Secretary David Davis resume talks. Earnings season continues with announcements from Walt Disney Co, Adidas AG, and Siemens AG. European financial companies set to report include Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, Credit Agricole SA, Allianz SE and Zurich Insurance Group AG.

And these are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

The Nikkei 225 fell 0.3 per cent as of 1:10 pm in Tokyo. The Topix index was little changed after dropping as much as 0.5 per cent earlier. So far in the second-quarter earnings season, 61 per cent of Topix-listed companies have posted profit that beat analyst estimates.

The S&P/ASX 200 Index was up 0.1 per cent near its highest since January 2008. South Korea’s Kospi index was 0.2 per cent higher. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was up 0.3 per cent and the Shanghai Composite Index was 0.5 per cent higher. Futures on the S&P 500 fell 0.1 per cent. The underlying gauge ended virtually unchanged yesterday. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was up 0.2 per cent to the highest in about 10 years. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index hovered at the highest since mid-2011.

Currencies

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index pared back some of yesterday's 0.3 per cent gain, though remains close to the highest since July. The Japanese yen climbed 0.2 per cent to 113.77, trading close to its weakest since March. The Aussie dollar was up slightly at 76.46 US cents, and the New Zealand dollar was steady at 69.00 cents. The euro traded at US$1.1595 (RM4.90).

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries was steady at 2.31 per cent, the lowest in almost four weeks. Australian 10-year yields were at 2.57 per cent. They fell to the lowest since June earlier this week.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude traded at US$57.00 a barrel. Gold was steady at US$1,277.58 an ounce. Copper was little changed at about US$3.09 a pound, the lowest in about a month, after falling 2.2 per cent yesterday when the Bloomberg Commodity Index dropped for the first time in seven days. — Bloomberg

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