Asian stocks meandered Friday following an overnight recovery on Wall Street, though investor optimism was tempered by U.S. political uncertainties and a crisis brewing in Brazil.
KEEPING SCORE: Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 gained 0.3 percent to 19,602.56. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 edged down 0.2 percent to 5,725.70. South Korea’s Kospi added 0.2 percent to 2,291.79. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng rose 0.4 percent to 25,227.02. The Shanghai Composite edged 0.1 percent lower to 3,084.57. India’s Sensex gained 0.6 percent to 30,624.67 and shares in Southeast Asia were mixed.
U.S. FACTOR: U.S. shares rallied, partly cheered by a positive report jobs data, following their worst drop in eight months the day before. Fears have been growing that given his political troubles Trump may run into difficulties in enacting tax cuts and other business-friendly policies.
BRAZIL FACTOR: Markets are also being shaken by a deepening political crisis in Brazil, where President Michel Temer is facing calls for his resignation amid allegations of corruption. Stocks and the currency have plunged there.
WALL STREET: The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.4 percent to 2,365.72 and the Dow Jones industrial average added 0.3 percent to 20,663.02. The Nasdaq composite index jumped 0.7 percent to 6,055.13.
THE QUOTE: ”Given the heightened level of uncertainty, I suspect traders will remain in a kind of Investor Purgatory where risk aversion dominates and fear mounts that the investigation could open up a whole new can of worms which will do little more than compound the markets current panic syndrome,” said Stephen Innes, senior trader at OANDA.
ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude oil futures added 44 cents to $49.79 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It rose 28 cents to $49.35 a barrel on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, climbed 44 cents to $52.95 a barrel in London.
CURRENCIES: The euro slipped to $1.1113 from $1.1153 late Thursday in Asia. The dollar strengthened to 111.41 yen from 111.17 yen.