World Economy

Asia Markets Climb After Moon-Kim Talks

Stocks in Europe drifted higher after Asia gains, while US futures also advanced
Seoul Stock Exchange
Seoul Stock Exchange

Hong Kong led a rally across most Asian markets on Monday as traders brushed off a slowdown in the US economy, while the boost from last week's historic North-South Korea summit continued to support Seoul and the won.

While figures on Friday showed growth in the world's top economy slowed in January-March, tech firms on Wall Street won support after healthy earnings figures from Amazon, Microsoft and Intel, AFP reported.

The positive lead from New York provided some much-needed help to Asian tech firms, which have been hammered in recent weeks by worries about the lucrative smartphone market.

Hong Kong-listed AAC Technologies and Tencent each posted healthy gains, while in Taipei Apple suppliers TSMC was also sharply higher.

On broader markets, Hong Kong ended 1.7% higher, with a better-than-forecast Chinese factory activity reading also providing support as it eased concerns about a slowdown in the mainland economy.

South Korean traders remain upbeat after Friday's meeting between South and North Korean Presidents Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong-un, respectively, which fuelled hopes for peace on the peninsula and for Pyongyang's possible denuclearization.

Seoul added 0.9% while Sydney gained 0.5%. Singapore surged more than 1%, while Wellington, Manila, Taipei and Jakarta were all deep in positive territory. Tokyo and Shanghai were closed for public holidays.

South Korea's benchmark Kospi index gained 0.92% to close at 2,515.38, with gains seen in steelmakers, automakers and oil-related stocks. Technology names were mixed.

Down Under, the S&P/ASX 200 edged higher by 0.49% to 5,982.70 as the utilities and heavily weighted financial sub-indexes advanced, canceling out slight declines in the materials and energy sectors.

MSCI's broad index of shares in Asia Pacific excluding Japan was up 1.07% in Asia trade.


European Markets

In early European trade London and Frankfurt each rose 0.2% but Paris edged slightly lower. Stocks in Europe drifted higher after Asia gains, while US futures also advanced. The dollar climbed while the pound faced pressure as British Prime Minister Theresa May lost a key ally.

Media and real estate companies led advances in Europe as most national gauges rose, while raw material providers were among the biggest losers as commodities fell. Shares in the FTSE 100 Index climbed to the highest in almost three months, with retailer J. Sainsbury Plc jumping the most on record as it plans to buy Walmart Inc.’s UK arm, Asda. The pound dropped after Amber Rudd quit as UK home secretary, and Housing Secretary Sajid Javid was named her replacement.

Futures for the S&P 500, Dow Jones and Nasdaq all pointed to a higher opening amid plans for mobile telecommunication company T-Mobile US Inc. to acquire Sprint Corp. for $26.5 billion in stock. The Wall Street Journal also reported that Marathon Petroleum Corp. plans to buy rival oil refiner Andeavor for more than $20 billion to create the biggest US fuel maker.

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index gained 0.1%, the highest in more than 12 weeks. The MSCI All-Country World Index advanced 0.1% to the highest in more than a week. Futures on the S&P 500 Index climbed 0.3% to the highest in more than a week. The UK’s FTSE 100 Index increased 0.5% to the highest in almost three months.

Currencies, Bonds, Commodities

The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.3% to the highest in more than 15 weeks. The South Korean won increased 0.8% to 1,068.05 per dollar, the strongest in more than a week. The euro fell 0.3% to $1.2092, the weakest in more than 15 weeks. And the British pound decreased 0.4% to $1.372, the weakest in more than 15 weeks.

The yield on 10-year US Treasuries advanced one basis point to 2.96%. Germany’s 10-year yield advanced one basis point to 0.58%, the largest gain in a week. Britain’s 10-year yield declined less than one basis point to 1.417%, hitting the lowest in more than a week with its fifth straight decline.

Gold fell 0.6% to $1,316.03 an ounce, the weakest in almost six weeks on the biggest fall in a week. West Texas Intermediate crude dipped 1.1% to $67.33 a barrel, the lowest in almost two weeks. London Metal Exchange aluminum gained 0.1% to $2,225.50 per metric ton. LME copper advanced 0.4% to $6,824.50 per metric ton.


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