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Asian stocks search for firm direction near multi-month high

  • MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares nears the 20-month top, Japan’s NIKKEI rises to the highest since September 2018.
  • The US-led optimism pleases equity traders in Asia.
  • Geopolitical tensions emanating from the Middle East gain a little attention as the US markets are off.

Following Wall Street’s notable gains on Friday, Asian stocks extend their northward trajectory ahead of Monday’s European session. In doing so, MSCI’s gauge of leading Asia-Pacific equities, except for Japan, near 714.00 to revisit the early 2018 tops whereas Japan’s NIKKEI gains 0.20% to 24,095 to mark 15-month high.

Traders seem to shrug off early-day advances in oil prices that benefited from the likely supply outage in Libya and Iraq due to geopolitical reasons. This could be attributed to the absence of the US traders as well as a lack of major data/events during the Asian session. The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) announced no change in its Loan Prime Rate (LPR) while Japan’s November month Industrial Production also marked fewer changes.

With this, Chinese equities remain mildly bid while Hong Kong’s HANG SENG declines on fresh news of violence. Further, Australia’s ASX 200 rushed to record highs, +0.22% to 7,080, but New Zealand’s NZX 50 fails to lure buyers amid a close in markets at Wellington.

Markets in India portray worries of a likely decline in tax revenue collection, with the headlines BSE SENSEX losing 0.5% to 41,740, whereas South Korea’s KOSPI benefits from leadership changes into the industry heavyweight Samsung Electronics.

Bond markets are showing no major changes as the US traders are off due to the Martin Luther King’s Birthday whereas S&P 500 Futures mark 0.03% gains while flashing 3,325 as a quote. Investors will have little clues looking forward except for the German Buba monthly report and PPI data. However, headlines from the World Economic Forum (WEF) gathering in Davos could offer intermediate moves to the markets.

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