Global markets: Asia tries to see light in trade talks, Brexit votes

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Sydney | Published: October 22, 2019 7:31 AM

Asian share markets edged ahead on Tuesday amid cheery chatter about the chance of a Sino-U.S. trade deal, while investors were sanguine yet another vote on Brexit would still avert a hard exit.

Futures for Japan’s Nikkei were trading flat at 22,700, compared to Monday’s index close at 22,548.

Asian share markets edged ahead on Tuesday amid cheery chatter about the chance of a Sino-U.S. trade deal, while investors were sanguine yet another vote on Brexit would still avert a hard exit. A holiday in Tokyo kept turnover light and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added a slight 0.13%.

Futures for Japan’s Nikkei were trading flat at 22,700, compared to Monday’s index close at 22,548. South Korean stocks rose 0.4%, while E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 were little changed.

U.S. President Donald Trump sounded upbeat on a China deal on Monday, while White House adviser Larry Kudlow said tariffs on Chinese goods scheduled for December could be withdrawn if talks go well.

Trade-sensitive technology stocks rose 1.1%, pulling the S&P 500 up 0.69% and near to a record closing high. The Dow gained 0.21%, while the Nasdaq rose 0.91%.

The better mood saw safe-haven bonds extend their recent pullback, with 10-year Treasury yields at a five-week peak of 1.80%.

In foreign exchange markets, the dollar found support against the yen at 108.60 while staying steady on a basket of currencies to 97.307.

The euro paused after its recent run higher and was last trading quietly at $1.1151.

Sterling held firm at $1.2972 after Prime Minister Boris Johnson failed to get a vote on his Brexit deal and will try again on Tuesday to get the first stage of a withdrawal bill through Parliament.

“If the House of Commons vote in favour of the deal, GBP/USD could rally towards $1.3500 over the medium term. The UK would then enter a transition period that lasts until 31 December 2020,” said Kim Mundy, a currency strategist at CBA.

“If the Commons rejects the deal, GBP/USD will likely stabilise around $1.2800, because the risk of a hard Brexit will remain low,” he added. “Early UK general elections would be the next most logical way forward.”

In commodity markets, spot gold was idling at $1,483.70 per ounce.

Oil prices were near flat as the market fretted about the health of the global economy and the future for energy demand.

Brent crude futures inched up 7 cents to $59.03, while U.S. crude added 9 cents to $53.40 a barrel.

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