Asia shares rest at highs, sterling licks wounds
By Wayne Cole SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian stocks took a breather at 18-month peaks on Wednesday having climbed for five straight sessions, while the British pound was licking its wounds as revived Brexit fears came back to bite it. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was dead flat in thin early trade, just off its highest since June last year.
By Wayne Cole
SYDNEY (Reuters) - Asian stocks took a breather at 18-month peaks on Wednesday having climbed for five straight sessions, while the British pound was licking its wounds as revived Brexit fears came back to bite it.
MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.MIAPJ0000PUS> was dead flat in thin early trade, just off its highest since June last year.
Japan's Nikkei <.N225> dipped 0.1% and away from its 2019 top, while Korean shares <.KS11> edged up 0.1% to an eight-month peak. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500
Upbeat economic news had helped the S&P 500 reach a record for the fourth straight session, building on its 27% gain this year. The Dow <.DJI> ended Tuesday up 0.19%, while the S&P 500 <.SPX> gained 0.07% and the Nasdaq <.IXIC> 0.11%. [.N]
U.S. housing starts were surprisingly strong in November, and building permits rose to the highest level since May 2007. Manufacturing output picked up more than expected as a strike at General Motors Co
A run of better data recently has helped calm fears of recession while the phase one Sino-U.S. deal on trade seems to have lifted some of the uncertainty on the global outlook.
The sea change was clear in BofA Global Research's latest survey of fund managers with recession concerns diving 33 percentage points to a net 68% of investors saying a recession is now unlikely in 2020.
Global growth expectations jumped 22 percentage points, marking the biggest 2-month rise on record. As a result, funds' allocation to global equities climbed 10 percentage points to a net 31% overweight, the highest level in a year.
Yet it might be too soon to declare an all-clear on the political front with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson upsetting markets by taking a hard line on Brexit talks.
Johnson will use the prospect of a Brexit cliff-edge at the end of 2020 to demand the EU give him a comprehensive free trade deal in less than 11 months.
The threat of a hard exit sent shivers through sterling, which slid 1.5% in its largest one-day fall this year.
The pound was last at $1.3110
"We treat the risk of a hard Brexit as a 'tail risk' at this stage," said Joseph Capurso, a senior currency strategist at CBA. "A UK‑EU trade deal by end 2020, while difficult, is still possible."
"In our view GBP/USD will remain supported at around $1.3000‑$1.3100 and upside contained near $1.3500 over the next several months."
Sterling's slide gave the dollar index a lift to 97.184 <.DXY> against a basket of currencies, extending a bounce from last week's five-month low of 96.588.
The euro also surged on the pound
Spot gold was idling at $1,475.90 per ounce
Oil prices eased from three-month highs as data showed U.S. crude stocks rose unexpectedly in the most recent week. [O/R]
(Editing by Sam Holmes)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
(Reuters) -Moderna Inc said on Monday it would produce at least 600 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, up by 100 million doses from its previous forecast, as the United States continues to roll-out the vaccine. The company was working to invest and hire in order to deliver up to 1 billion doses this year, the higher end of its production forecast, it said
WARSAW (Reuters) - A skating rink owner in the Polish city of Szczecin believes he has found a way to keep his business open despite coronavirus restrictions - operate as a flower shop instead. His plan is simple - the customer has to purchase access to the flower "warehouse", then chooses from a box of flowers in the middle of the rink. "You can jump, crawl or go on all fours ..
By Reuters Staff SANAA (Reuters) - Paralysed and severely malnourished, seven-year-old Faid Samim lies curled up on a hospital bed in the Yemeni capital Sanaa, having barely survived the journey there. "He was almost gone when he arrived but thank God we were able to do what was necessary and he started improving. He is suffering from CP (cerebral palsy) and severe malnutrition," said Rageh Mohammed, the supervising doctor of the Al-Sabeen hospital's malnutrition ward.