Sun, Mar 27, 2016 - Page 15 News List

Asian stocks advance from one-week low on US dollar

Bloomberg

Asian shares on Friday rose from a one-week low as the US dollar strengthened for a sixth day, its longest winning streak in two months.

The TAIEX fell 0.44 percent on Friday to close at 8,704.97, down from 8,734.5 on Friday last week.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.1 percent as of 9:20am in Tokyo, trimming this week’s loss to 1 percent.

Japan’s TOPIX climbed 0.3 percent, while South Korea’s KOSPI declined 0.1 percent.

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 1.2 percent this week, its strongest rally in four months, while the Bloomberg Commodity Index slid 1.9 percent.

After upsetting markets in August last year and again early last month, the prospect of higher US interest rates is returning to the spotlight, as regional US Federal Reserve presidents indicate support for higher rates as soon as economic data warrant.

While the Fed’s recent halving of its projection for this year’s increases spurred stock gains and depressed the US dollar, the more bullish tone from officials is now supporting a surge in the greenback that is hurting the mostly US dollar-denominated commodity market.

“The market is seeing a little bit of a pause in momentum,” said Kevin Caron, a Florham Park, New Jersey-based market strategist and portfolio manager, who helps oversee US$180 billion at Stifel Nicolaus & Co.

“Now we are looking ahead at what drives us beyond what central bank actions have been able to curry so far. We do not really have a catalyst right now,” Caron said.

Revised GDP data confirmed that South Korea’s economic growth rate slipped from a five-year high in the fourth quarter as a surge in property transactions faded in the final three months of last year.

Inflation data in Japan showed consumer prices were unchanged for a second month last month, while Thai trade figures are forecast to show exports dropped for a 14th straight month.

Asia-Pacific markets, including Australia, Hong Kong, India and Singapore, were shut for holidays. Most of Europe and North America was also closed.

Additional reporting by staff writer

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