Asian Shares Shine On U.S. Tech Results, ECB Hopes

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Asian shares rose on Wednesday as upbeat results from two U.S. technology bellwethers and hopes of fresh stimulus from the European Central Bank offset concerns about the outlook for the global economy.

Financial spreadbetters predicted European bourses would follow Asia higher, with Britain’s FTSE 100 .FTSE seen opening up 23 points, or 0.4 percent, Germany’s DAX .GDAXI 60 points, or 0.7 percent, and France’s CAC 40 .FCHI 21 points, or 0.5 percent.

“Ahead of the European open, we are eyeing further gains yet again, with limited releases on the calendar to work from,” IG market strategist Stan Shamu wrote in a note.

 MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 1 percent to a nearly two-week high, while Japan’s Nikkei stock average .N225 ended 2.6 percent higher, clawing back ground lost in Tuesday’s 2 percent drop.

Sentiment also got a lift from a Reuters report that the ECB is considering buying corporate bonds, a step that would help banks free up more of their balance sheets for lending. The ECB might decide on the matter as soon as December with a view to begin purchases early next year, several sources familiar with the situation said.

“The news triggered bargain-hunting as Japanese shares have fallen to levels which priced in the worst-case scenario,” said Toru Ibayashi, executive director at UBS Wealth Management, referring to fears that Europe’s economy would fall back into recession.

In U.S. trading, shares of Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Texas Instruments Inc (TXN.O) gained on stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings, lifting the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite index .IXIC more than 2 percent. The S&P 500 .SPX added 1.96 percent to mark its biggest daily percentage gain since October 2013 and its fourth straight rising session.

Japanese trade data released early Wednesday also underpinned buying in Tokyo. Exports rose 6.9 percent in September from a year earlier, the fastest pace in seven months, in a tentative sign that external demand is starting to pick up.

The upbeat mood in global equities markets sapped the safe-haven appeal of U.S. Treasuries, pushing their yields away from last week’s 17-month lows. The yield on benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury notes US10YT=RR stood at 2.211 percent in late Asian trade, up from Tuesday’s U.S. close of 2.208 percent.

Higher U.S. yields supported bolster the greenback, with the dollar index .DXY steady on the day at 85.301.

Data on Tuesday showing a stronger-than-expected 2.4 percent rise in U.S. domestic home resales last month provided evidence that the U.S. economic recovery maintained momentum and also put upward pressure on yields.

“Given heightened concern about falling inflation expectations, the attention turns to the U.S. September CPI report,” strategists at Barclays said.

“Our thesis of USD outperformance driven by relative U.S. strength and interest rate divergence remains intact, but is at risk of delay pending soft underlying inflation trends.”

The CPI report is due at 8:30 a.m. EDT. Economists expect annual core CPI inflation to stay flat at 1.7 percent in September, and a cooler reading would add to speculation that the Federal Reserve will wait longer before raising interest rates.

The consensus view is that the U.S. central bank will decide to wrap up its asset purchases under its third round of quantitative easing later this month at its Oct 28-29 policy meeting, though short-term interest rates futures implied markets do not expect the Fed to hike rates until late 2015.

The dollar inched lower on the day against the yen JPY= to 106.91 yen, while the euro EUR= nursed its losses after dropping on the ECB news, and edged slightly higher to $1.2727.

In commodities markets, Brent crude LCOc1 added about 0.1 percent to $86.31 a barrel after posting solid gains on Tuesday, helped by data showing stronger-than-expected China demand and some technical price recovery after weeks of almost uninterrupted selling.

Spot gold XAU= was slightly lower on the day at $1,247.80 an ounce, but still not far from a six-week high marked in the previous session.

Source : Reuters

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