Asian stocks gained on Friday as investors took heart from U.S. President Donald Trump saying trade talks with China were “moving right along”, and U.S. oil prices sat near 2-1/2-month highs after OPEC and other producers agreed to cut output.
- MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.4%.
- Japan’s Nikkei added 0.2%.
- Australian shares rose 0.4%.
- South Korea’s Kospi climbed 0.9%,.
- Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gaining 0.7%.
In the currency market, the British pound soared on growing confidence that next week’s election will give the Conservative Party the parliamentary majority it needs to deliver Brexit, ending near-term uncertainty.
- Sterling spiked to a seven-month high of $1.3166 on Thursday and last stood at $1.316, up 1.6% so far this week. It hit 2-1/2-year highs versus the euro.
- The euro stood at $1.1107, near a one-month high of $1.11165 set on Wednesday, lifted by firmer euro zone economic data.
- That helped push the dollar against a basket of major currencies to a one-month low of 97.356 on Thursday. The index was last quoted at 97.379.
- Against the yen, the dollar traded at 108.67 yen, having slipped slightly the previous day.
- Brent crude futures dipped 0.4% to $63.14 a barrel, having struck its highest on Thursday since Nov. 28.
- U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude eased 0.3% to $58.24 per barrel still not far off Thursday’s 2-1/2-month high of $59.12.