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Fresh Wall Street peak propels Asian bourses higher

Wednesday 05:20 BST

What you need to know

  • Sterling hovers at one-year high against dollar
  • Oil prices diverge
  • Japan, Australia stocks rally for a third day

Overview

Asia-Pacific bourses broadly tracked Wall Street higher after the S&P 500 closed at a new record high as worries over the economic damage from Hurricane Irma eased.

Hot topic

The S&P 500 ticked up 0.3 per cent on Tuesday to its best finish at 2,496, while the Nasdaq Composite and the Dow Jones industrial average each also rose 0.3 per cent.

In Asia, Japan’s Topix index notched the largest gain, adding 0.7 per cent to touch a five week high as the financials sector advanced 1.3 per cent.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.2 per cent, gaining for a third consecutive day, as the materials sector climbed 0.9 per cent and financials rose 0.5 per cent.

But shares in Hong Kong bucked the trend, with the Hang Seng Index slipping 0.3 per cent as financial stocks fell 0.4 per cent while technology stocks reversed earlier losses to edge up 0.1 per cent.

Forex

The dollar index, a measure of the US currency against a weighted basket of peers, was 0.1 per cent weaker at 91.805.

The UK pound was hovering at a one-year high of $1.3309 after rising sharply on Tuesday following the release of stronger-than-expected UK inflation data. UK consumer prices were 2.9 per cent higher in August compared with the same month a year earlier, rising from 2.6 per cent in July.

The Australian dollar got a fillip from an improvement in the Westpac measure of consumer confidence in September, rising to $0.8029 against its US counterpart as Australian consumer confidence hit a four-month high.

The Japanese yen was a touch stronger against the dollar at ¥110.04.

Fixed income

The yield on 10-year US Treasuries was up 2.6 basis points at 2.157 per cent, after brushing a two-week high of 2.17 per cent the previous day.

Commodities

Oil prices were mixed. Brent crude, the international oil benchmark, edged down 0.2 per cent to $54.14 after settling 0.8 per cent higher in the previous session following reports that Opec was considering further output cuts. West Texas intermediate, the US marker, was flat at $48.23 a barrel.

Gold was flat at $1,331.66 per ounce.

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