Asia stocks edge up as U.S. earnings prop up Wall Street, dollar solid

By: | Published: April 26, 2018 8:36 AM

Asian stocks edged up on Thursday as robust corporate earnings helped Wall Street quell concerns over a surge in U.S. bond yields, while the dollar hovered near three-month highs against a basket of currencies.

global stocks, stock markets, us stock markets, asian stock marketsAustralian stocks were flat and Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.4 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 0.5 percent.

Asian stocks edged up on Thursday as robust corporate earnings helped Wall Street quell concerns over a surge in U.S. bond yields, while the dollar hovered near three-month highs against a basket of currencies. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.09 percent. Australian stocks were flat and Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.4 percent. South Korea’s KOSPI climbed 0.5 percent.

The Dow rose 0.25 percent overnight, ending a five-day losing streak, and the S&P 500 gained 0.18 percent on optimism over a spate of upbeat earnings that managed to offset jitters over rising U.S. bond yields.

The spike to a four-year peak above 3 percent in the 10-year U.S. Treasury yield this week – a benchmark for global borrowing costs – had weighed on stocks amid concerns rising corporate borrowing costs could dampen profits.

Nonetheless the broader equity market reaction to the latest jump in U.S. yields appeared to be more measured compared to February, when a similar spike in rates sent stocks tumbling.

“The equity markets slid sharply in January and March in response to the rise in Treasury yields. But the Federal Reserve signalled in March that its rate hikes would be gradual,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.

“Expectations towards U.S. rate hikes being gradual are enabling equities to take the current yield rise in stride.”

The 10-year Treasury note yield rose to 3.035 percent overnight, its highest since January 2014. The yield has climbed on expectations of a steady U.S. economic expansion, accelerating inflation and concerns about increasing debt supply.

The dollar has drawn support from the higher U.S. yields, with its index against a basket of six major currencies last up 0.05 percent at 91.210 and within reach of 91.261, a three-month peak scaled on Wednesday. The greenback has risen without pause through much of the past week as concerns over a U.S.-China trade dispute receded, allowing the market to turn its attention back to dollar-supportive fundamentals. The euro fetched $1.2169 after sliding to a 1-1/2-month low of $1.2160. The dollar was steady at 109.420 yen after going as high as 109.490, its strongest since  Feb. 8.

Crude oil prices were up amid the prospect of fresh sanctions on Iran and concerns about output from Venezuela. U.S. crude futures were 0.3 percent higher at $68.24 a barrel.

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