Asian stocks were poised to rise following a broad-based rally in US equities and as a weaker yen looked set to buoy Japanese shares. The pound jumped on speculation that Ireland and Britain were close to a Brexit deal.
Futures for stock markets in Tokyo, Sydney and Hong Kong climbed. The S&P 500 Index ended a four-day losing streak, with industrial and consumer discretionary shares among the best performers. Gold extended this week’s slide to a four-month low, while Brazilian assets tumbled as the chances withered for an overhaul to the country’s pension system to be passed this year.
Equities across the Asia-Pacific began rallying on Thursday after an eight-day losing streak saw investors booking profits following 2017 gains. This year remains on track to be the best since 2009 when stocks surged in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis.
“We’ve had a terrific year in financial assets across the board,” Kenneth Taubes, chief investment officer of US investment management at Amundi, which oversees about $1.6 trillion, told Bloomberg TV. “As we get towards the end of the year and valuations seem more extended than there were last year, it’s pretty natural that people want to lock in some profits.”
Stocks in the US resumed their runup tied to speculation that the US tax overhaul will boost corporate profits. That follows a few days in which the markets drifted as investors awaited the details of a final bill. Meanwhile, the House passed a bill that would keep the US government open for two weeks beyond Friday’s shutdown deadline.
And the bitcoin frenzy continues. The cryptocurrency that has sparked so much debate went on a wild ride on Thursday. On Coinbase Inc.’s GDAX exchange, prices zoomed up to almost $20,000 from $16,000 in only about 90 minutes before crashing back down. The largest digital currency is still up more than 16-fold this year. It was above $16,000 in early Asian trading. – Bloomberg