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Asian stocks mostly higher after Wall Street record highs

September 13, 2017 - 12:05am

BEIJING — Most Asian stock markets were higher Wednesday after U.S. shares rose on encouraging jobs data while worries about North Korea and twin hurricane disasters eased.

KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.5 percent to 19,879 points and India’s Sensex was up 0.3 percent at 32,242.41. The Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.1 percent to 3,376.39 and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng shed 0.3 percent to 28,889.95. Seoul’s Kospi gained 0.2 percent to 2,369.82 and Sydney’s S&P-ASX 200 was up just under 0.1 percent at 5,749.10. Benchmarks in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines gained while Taiwan and New Zealand declined.

WALL STREET: Banks rose for a second day and retailers gained after the Labor Department said numbers of job openings and new hires both grew in July. That left investors hopeful people will shop and spend more. The Standard &Poor’s 500 index rose 0.3 percent to a record 2,496.48. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 0.3 percent to 22,118.86, a fraction of a point higher than its previous record. The Nasdaq composite picked up 0.3 percent, to 6,454.28.

NORTH KOREA: President Donald Trump said Tuesday new U.N. sanctions “are nothing compared to what ultimately will have to happen” to stop North Korea’s nuclear program. U.S. officials showed Congress satellite images of illicit trade to highlight the challenge of getting China and Russia to cut off commerce. The measures fell short of Washington’s goals: a potentially crippling ban on oil imports and freezing the international assets of Kim Jong Un and his government.

ANALYST’S TAKE: “Financial markets seem to have abruptly stopped worrying about the end of the world, with stocks soaring again, bond yields pushing higher, and safe haven currencies such as the JPY selling off,” said Rob Carnell of ING in a report. “It won’t last. But until the next risk off event appears, we might as well enjoy it and can focus back on the underlying macro story.” A potential trigger is U.S. threats to restrict Chinese access to the American financial system, said Carnell. “Were this U.S. threat to be carried out, we are fairly sure that China would retaliate in ways that would also hurt the U.S. economically.”

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