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Most Asian Stocks Make Gains, US Shutdown Chance Glowers

Most Asian Stocks Make Gains, US Shutdown Chance Glowers

2018-01-19 07:03:00
David Cottle, Analyst
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Talking Points:

  • Most Asian stocks made small gains Friday
  • The prospect of a US Federal Government shutdown didn’t phase the indexes much
  • The US Dollar drifted down however

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Most Asian stocks managed modest gains Friday although investors cast nervous eyes at the US, where legislation to prevent a Federal Government shutdown was proceeding through Congress.

The House of Representatives passed a short-term spending bill on Thursday evening but doubt remains as to whether it can pass the Senate on Friday. It will need to ensure funding supply under debt-ceiling rules.

Still, optimism about global growth in the wake of Thursday’s official Chinese growth numbers kept Asian stocks ticking over. The Nikkei added 0.2% with most other regional bourses in the green. Australia’s ASX 200 was an exception, it wilted under the pressure of a little blue-chip weakness to end down 0.2%. The closely-watched MSCI index of Asian shares ex-Japan made a new record high before slipping back.

The US Dollar was under more duress in the foreign exchange markets as investors weighed shutdown chances. The Australian Dollar was a particular beneficiary, buoyed up by a nice combination of overseas and domestic support factors. Bitcoin prices edged back up to 12,000 after a punishing week before drifting off again. Gold prices perked up as they often can when the greenback slips. Crude oil prices remained lower following Thursday’s news of a US production uptick.

Still left on Friday’s economic schedule are UK retail sales figures and the Eurozone current account. However the University of Michigan’s venerable snapshot of consumer confidence out of the US is likely to attract most investor attention as the week fades out, Congress aside.

--- Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research

Contact and follow David on Twitter:@DavidCottleFX

DailyFX provides forex news and technical analysis on the trends that influence the global currency markets.

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