World Economy

Asia Shares at 10-Year High

Asia Shares at 10-Year HighAsia Shares at 10-Year High

Upbeat earnings reports helped drive global stock markets to record highs on Wednesday, as investors turned their focus to a US Federal Reserve meeting for fresh insight on the outlook for monetary policy in the world’s biggest economy.

Oil prices extended a bull run on hopes that major producers would maintain their output cuts. The dollar firmed ahead of a Fed rate decision and digital currency bitcoin surged to a record high, news outlets reported.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index climbed to its highest level since August 2015 as stock markets in London and Frankfurt gained 0.5 to 1.2% in early trade.

That followed a rally in Asia, where stock markets hit 10-year highs. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.9%, led by a 1.3% jump in South Korea.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 average finished up 408.47 points or 1.86% at a 21-year high of 22,420.08, while the broader Topix index closed 1.17% higher at 1,786.71.

Shares of Japanese multinational Sony rose more than 11%, after the company announced record annual profit in 2017 owing to strong sales of semiconductors and favorable exchange rates.

South Korea’s economic growth accelerated to its fastest pace in seven years last quarter. Growth in Taiwan during the same period was the strongest in 2 1/2 years.

Seoul stocks rallied to close at fresh record highs, led by technology shares. The benchmark Kospi jumped 33.04 points or 1.31% to finish at 2,556.47. Market heavyweight Samsung Electronics climbed 3.9% to close at 2,861,000 won, while Samsung SDI jumped as much as 9% and SK Hynix added 3.8%, RTTNews reported.

Australian shares gained ground as Chinese steel futures rose and the latest survey from the Australian Industry Group revealed growth in the country’s manufacturing sector for the thirteenth successive month in October. The benchmark S&P/ASX 200 rose 28.80 points or 0.49% to 5,937.80 while the broader All Ordinaries index ended 29.10 points or 0.49 percent higher at 6,005.50.

India’s Sensex was up over 1% to touch a record high after data showed core sector growth hit a six-month high in September and the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 report ranked India among the top 10 ‘improvers’ globally in ease of doing business.

Benchmark indexes in Taiwan, Singapore and Indonesia were up between 0.1% and 0.3% while Malaysia’s KLSE Composite index was declining 0.2%.

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