Asian stocks rebound after Italy vote losses

 06 Dec 2016 - 12:00

AFP

Hong Kong: Most Asian stocks rallied while the euro held up and high-yielding currencies rebounded Tuesday as investors rediscovered their appetite for risk after the previous day's losses fuelled by Italian uncertainty.

Markets were jolted and the euro tumbled to a 20-month low Monday after Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said he would resign in the wake of losing a referendum on constitutional reform.

But players had moved on by Tuesday and attention was turning back to the Federal Reserve's expected interest rate rise next week, with traders hoping it will give some indication of its plans for 2017 as US President-elect Donald Trump embarks on a big-spending programme that will likely fan inflation.

"Investors shrugged off the anti-establishment messages from the Italian referendum to drive share prices higher," Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist in Sydney at CMC Markets, told Bloomberg News. 

"Attention now turns to the Fed's interest-rate decision next week, the last listed major risk event for the year."

The Italian result sent the European single currency crashing to $1.0506 -- its lowest since March 2015 -- before it bounced back as traders await more developments out of Rome. In afternoon Asian trade it bought $1.0762, having dallied earlier with $1.08.

However, concerns remain that political instability could scupper Italy's efforts to resolve a bad loans crisis in the banking sector, and spark fresh eurozone turmoil.

On stock markets Tokyo ended 0.5 percent higher, while Hong Kong was up 0.8 percent. Shanghai ended down 0.2 percent.

Sydney gained 0.5 percent, Seoul was 1.4 percent higher and Taipei put on one percent.

The gains were also prompted by the Dow's second record close in three days, helped by a jump in activity in the key US services sector.

The renewed confidence provided support to Asia-Pacific currencies that have taken a beating in recent weeks because of growing expectations US borrowing costs will be increased more sharply than previously thought.

Australia's dollar was up 0.4 percent against the greenback after the country's central bank decided against cutting interest rates. But weak inflation figures dented earlier advances as policymakers kept an open mind about a cut down the line.

South Korea's won added 0.3 percent and the Indonesian rupiah gained 0.7 percent, while the Malaysian ringgit, New Zealand dollar and Singapore dollar also posted healthy gains.

Oil prices turned lower as the surge that greeted last week's output cut agreement between OPEC and Russia fades.

At the start of European trade London, Paris and Frankfurt were all flat, while Milan edged up 0.2 percent.

- Key figures around 0800 GMT -

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 18,360.54 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 0.8 percent at 22,675.15 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.2 percent at 3,199.65 (close)

London - FTSE 100: FLAT at 6,743.88

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.0762 from $1.0768 Monday

Dollar/yen: UP at 114.00 yen from 113.77 yen 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2758 from $1.2724

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 32 cents at $51.47 per barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 23 cents at $54.71

New York - Dow: UP 0.2 percent at 19,216.24 (close)