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Asia stocks firm as trade war fears ease, euro buoyant

A man looks at an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo February 9, 2018.—Reuters pic
A man looks at an electronic stock quotation board outside a brokerage in Tokyo February 9, 2018.—Reuters pic

TOKYO, April 11 — Asian stocks were firm today as investors lapped up the positive mood in markets after China's President Xi Jinping helped ease fears over a US-China trade row, while the euro hovered near two-week highs.

In overnight trade, Wall Street rallied strongly, taking the baton from a solid Asian session that was driven by Xi's speech seen as striking a more conciliatory stance following a week of tit-for-tat tariff threats between Beijing and Washington.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan edged up 0.1 per cent.

Australian stocks added 0.1 per cent and Japan's Nikkei edged up 0.15 per cent.

The Dow advanced 1.8 per cent, the S&P 500 rose 1.7 per cent and Nasdaq added 2.1 per cent overnight after Xi yesterday pledged to further open up the economy and promised to cut import tariffs on products including cars.

“The United States and China are still at a phase in which they are attempting to probe the intentions of the other,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, senior strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management in Tokyo.

“While China showed how far it can go, the markets won't settle down until the two powers reach an actual agreement. The next focal point is how the United States responds.”

In currencies, the euro was a shade higher at US$1.2362 and on its fourth session of gains.

The common currency was not far from a two-week high of US$1.2378 scaled overnight after European Central Bank policymaker Ewald Nowotny told Reuters in an interview that its €2.55 trillion bond buying programme would be wound down by the end of this year.

The euro has risen about 3 per cent this year on expectations that the ECB would eventually normalise monetary policy and hike interest rates.

The US dollar was steady at 107.170 yen after gaining 0.4 per cent overnight as an uptick in risk appetite weakened demand for its Japanese peer, often sought in times of market turmoil and political tensions.

The US dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was little changed at 89.562 after shedding 0.3 per cent the previous day.

Crude rose further after rallying overnight on the easing of US-China trade conflict concerns and tensions in the Middle East.

US crude futures gained 0.25 per cent to US$65.67 (RM) a barrel after surging more than 3 per cent on yesterday. — Reuters

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