Asia Shares Approach 2017 High After U.S. Stocks Hit Record

  • Market ‘gets a boost’ from Dudley’s comment: First Shanghai
  • Australian shares slip as Moody’s downgrades major banks

Asia stocks headed for a third day of gains after the S&P 500 Index rose to a fresh record high and a Federal Reserve official’s comment that U.S. expansion has “a long way to go” boosted confidence in the world’s biggest economy.

The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced 0.1 percent to 155.37 as of 4:55 p.m. in Hong Kong, within half a percentage point of its 2017 closing high set last week. Technology shares were the best performing group, with Samsung Electronics Co. adding 3.4 percent. The Topix climbed 0.7 percent in Tokyo as the yen weakened, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index dropped 0.8 percent after Moody’s cut long-term ratings on four major banks.

Fed Bank of New York President William Dudley aligned himself with Chair Janet Yellen in declaring his expectation that a tight labor market will eventually trigger a rebound in inflation data that has been unexpectedly weak in recent months. His comments were followed by remarks from Chicago Fed President Charles Evans, who said “the current environment supports very gradual rate hikes and slow preset reductions in our balance sheet.”

China’s CSI 300 slipped 0.2 percent before MSCI Inc.’s decision, due early Wednesday Hong Kong time, on whether to add A-shares to global benchmarks. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index erased a 0.5 percent gain to close 0.3 percent lower.

"There is a bit of profit-taking today as people wait for stronger drivers other than U.S. stocks hitting a new high," said Jingyi Pan, a Singapore-based market strategist for IG Asia Pte.

OCI Co. advanced 2.8 percent to a four-month high in Seoul on expectations demand for renewable energy will increase in South Korea. Westpac Banking Corp. fell 1.9 percent in Sydney, while National Australia Bank Ltd. slid 1.1 percent.

Summary

  • Nikkei 225 +0.8%
  • Shanghai Composite -0.1%
  • South Korea’s Kospi -0.1%
  • Taiwan’s Taiex +0.7%; Singapore’s Straits Times Index -0.4%
  • Indonesia’s Jakarta Composite +0.8%; Philippines PSEi -0.3%, Malaysia’s KLCI -0.5%
  • Thailand’s SET Index -0.1%; Vietnam Stock Index +0.2%
  • India’s Sensex -0.1%
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