Asian Stocks Talking Points:
- Stocks rose across the board Friday
- Focus remains on Brexit and global trade
- The Bank of Japan kept monetary policy unchanged once again
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Asian stocks were broadly higher Friday despite a decidedly mixed lead from Wall Street. Risk appetite held up as the Bank of Japan left its monetary policy alone once again, even as North Korea was reported to be rethinking its moratorium on nuclear testing and missile launches.
News of a probable Brexit delay also helped boost investor confidence after a roller-coaster week of headlines from the UK on that topic.
Hopes for a trade settlement between China and the US probably offered stocks their customary underpinning. Donald Trump said Thursday that the world would know whether or not a deal could be struck in about three or four weeks. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin said, however, that there would be no summit between Trump and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping at the end of March as much work remained to be done.
The Nikkei 225 was 1% higher as its close approached Friday, with Shanghai up 1.5% and the Hang Seng adding 1%. The ASX 200 was a bit of a laggard, rising 0.1%.
In the foreign exchange space, the British Pound steadied after lawmakers in London voted to apply to the European Union for a ‘short’ Brexit delay. GBP/USD’s daily-chart rally seems to have round out of steam short of late February’s peak, but the European session could yet see further gains, even if they are likely to be fragile and hostage to headlines.
The US Dollar didn’t move far either although more weak US data , in the form of elevated jobless claims, kept a lid on it.
Gold prices were initially lower as risk appetite held up, but they crept higher through the session. Crude oil prices also rose a little but worries about demand in the face of weak economic growth have this market reined in.
Friday’s remaining economic data slate is quite sparse. Eurozone Consumer Price Index figures and Canadian existing home sales are due, but both are likely to be eclipsed for investors by the official US industrial production release for February and the University of Michigan’s consumer sentiment roundup.
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— Written by David Cottle, DailyFX Research
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