Asian markets rally after Wall St lead, euro struggles

Agence France Presse

Posted at Nov 21 2017 05:43 PM

HONG KONG - Asian markets mostly rose on Tuesday as traders took heart from a healthy run on Wall Street, though German political uncertainty kept pressure on the euro.

While concerns about the prospects for US tax reform continue to nag, optimism about the global economy provided some buoyancy to equities, with all three main New York indexes closing higher.

However, with the Thanksgiving holiday shortening the US trading week analysts do not expect much more guidance from New York in the next few days.

Still, Tokyo jumped 0.7 percent, led by exporters as the dollar held on to most of its gains against the yen.

The greenback was marginally down from its New York mark, at 112.60 yen, but sharply higher than the levels around 112 yen seen earlier Monday in Asia.

Among other markets Hong Kong pushed 1.9 percent higher to a 10-year high, with Tencent up 2.4 percent, extending Monday's surge that makes it the first Asian member of the exclusive club of global firms with a market capitalization above $500 billion.

The Chinese internet giant was about $520 billion, around the same as Facebook.

Shanghai gained 0.5 percent and Sydney was up 0.3 percent. Seoul rose 0.1 percent and Taipei put on 1.1 percent but Manila, Jakarta and Wellington dipped.

There was little negative reaction to news that Donald Trump had redesignated North Korea as a state sponsor of terror, promising Monday to increase sanctions on it.

On currency markets the euro edged up but is still under pressure after German Chancellor Angela Merkel struggled to form a government following months of horse-trading with other parties failed.

The leader of 12 years indicated Monday she was ready to hold snap elections after the collapse of coalition talks at the weekend plunged Europe's biggest economy into turmoil.

"Merkel said she didn't favour a minority government because it wouldn't bring the stability necessary to govern effectively," said Greg McKenna, chief market strategist at AxiTrader.

"That suggests more talks but an increased chance of fresh elections in early 2018. How that plays out is going to be interesting for the euro and certainly the Brexit process as well."

The single currency was higher against the dollar, but some market-watchers have warned it could sink as low as $1.1160, despite an expected tightening of monetary policy by the European Central Bank.

In early European trade London fell 0.2 percent while Paris and Frankfurt each shed 0.1 percent.