Talking Points

  • Wall Street’s strong lead gave Asian stocks wings
  • A stronger US Dollar helped too
  • There wasn’t much economic data, but what there was looked good

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Asian stocks took a strong Wall Street lead and ran with it Friday. Most bourses were green heading into the week’s close.

US equity managed strong gains in Thursday’s session following the release of more corporate quarterly results and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin’s statement that the Administration was close to “major tax reform.” Indeed the Nasdaq managed a record closing high. Materials stocks also did well following news that the US would launch a probe into the practices of China and other exporters of cheap steel to the US market.

Following on, the Nikkei scored gains of more than 1%, helped in its own session by news that Japan’s manufacturing output had increased for an eighth straight month. Australian and Korean stocks also surged. Chinese stocks joined in, but to a lesser extent. Samsung shares got a lift as investors contemplate the launch of its new Galaxy S8 smartphone which has reportedly garnered extensive pre-release interest.

Markets shrugged off news of yet another terror attack in Paris which left one police officer dead and two injured. The shooting took place just before voters head for the booths on Sunday for the first round of this year’s Presidential vote.

In currency markets the US Dollar traded a little higher, and notched up a second straight session of gains on the Yen.

Crude oil prices inched up, caught between high US shale production and hopes for an extension to the production cuts now in force from traditional producers. Gold prices held steady as French-election uncertainties kept a limit on general risk appetite.

The Asian session may be winding down but there’s plenty of economic life left in Friday. Markets will have a plethora of European and US Purchasing Mangers Index data to chew over, along with a look at Canadian consumer prices and UK retail sales.

--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX