Asia shares rise on trade talks hope, firm U.S. data; safe havens sold
By Shinichi Saoshiro
TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks gained on Friday, joining a global trend as investors took heart from firm U.S. economic data plans hopes a meeting between U.S. and Chinese negotiators next month signals an easing in trade tensions.
The improvement in investors’ appetite for risk reduced demand for safe havens such as government bonds and the yen, however.
In early European trade, the pan-region and German were little changed, while Britain’s futures inched down 0.1%.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.4%, putting it on track for a 2.2% weekly gain – which would make it the best week since mid-June.
The edged up 0.1%. Hong Kong’s was up 0.2%, with some earlier gains trimmed after rating agency Fitch downgraded the city’s credit rating following months of unrest.
Australian stocks gained 0.5%, South Korea’s climbed 0.1% and Japan’s advanced 0.4%.
Global equity markets welcomed news that the United States and China agreed on Thursday to hold high-level talks early in October, raising hopes for substantial progress in de-escalating their long, bitter trade conflict.
Upbeat U.S. data on Thursday also helped sentiment.
U.S. private payrolls increased in August at their fastest pace in four months, according to ADP (NASDAQ:) National Employment Report. Separately the U.S. services industry rebounded last month to its fastest expansion since February, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI).
“The strong U.S. data are the main part of the latest turn in markets as they are key factors impacting equities and U.S. yields, therefore determining how long this ‘risk on’ phase will last,” said Junichi Ishikawa, senior FX strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.
On Thursday, the added 1.4%, the climbed 1.3% and Nasdaq rose 1.75%.
Ishikawa at IG Securities said a U.S. August jobs report out later in the global day “will get more attention than usual as it could further fuel the risk-on phase, which in turn would boost the dollar.”
The non-farm payroll report is expected to show an increase of 158,000 and the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.7%.
The dollar stood at 107.000 yen after climbing to a one-month high of 107.235 overnight. The greenback has gained about 0.7% against the safe-haven yen.
The pound hovered near a six-week peak of $1.2353 scaled the previous day on hopes that Britain could avoid exiting the European Union without a deal.
Sterling had fallen to a three-year low of $1.1959 midweek after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson stoked fears of a no-deal Brexit.
The euro was steady at $1.1039 after rising 0.5% overnight, when it was lifted by sterling’s bounce.
The against a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 98.369 after pulling back from a one-week low of 98.085 the previous day, thanks to a rise in U.S. Treasury yields.
U.S. Treasuries fell in price and their yields rebounded from multi-year lows as investors moved out of safety assets into equities.
The was at 1.536%, having risen from a three-year trough of 1.428% plumbed midweek as soft economic data and Sino-U.S. trade worries stoked global recession concerns.
“The recent panic in markets was excessive. And if a sustained reversal of fragile sentiment gets under way, U.S. equities will test fresh record highs and a corresponding drop in bond prices will present an good bargain hunting opportunity,” said Eiichiro Tani, chief strategist at Daiwa Securities.
Japan’s 10-year government bond yield climbed 2.5 basis points to minus 0.250%, putting some distance between a three-year low of minus 0.295% set earlier this week.
The Australian dollar traded close to a one-month peak of $0.6830. It has gained more than 1% this week amid the thaw in U.S.-China trade tensions and tempered prospects for an immediate interest rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia.
futures were little changed at $60.97 per barrel, losing some steam after posting strong gains over the past two sessions.
Brent had climbed to a one-month peak of $62.40 per barrel on Thursday on a decline in inventories and eased trade war worries.