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Asian shares set to edge up, after Wall Street tech rally


Asian stocks were set to edge higher early on Thursday after big tech rallied on Wall Street and as President Joe Biden announced a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure investment plan.

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a stock quotation board at a brokerage in Tokyo

FILE PHOTO: A man walks past a stock quotation board at a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan February 26, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

NEW YORK: Asian stocks were set to edge higher early on Thursday after big tech rallied on Wall Street and as President Joe Biden announced a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure investment plan.

The dollar, meanwhile, hit a one-year high against the yen and multi-month peaks with other currencies as investors bet U.S. fiscal stimulus and aggressive vaccinations will help the United States lead a global pandemic recovery.

Tech stocks were likely to push Australian shares higher at least initially on Thursday in Asia, but optimism could be cooled by concerns about inflation and interest rates.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures rose 0.28per cent in early trading, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures rose 0.81per cent.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures fell 0.10per cent.

Big tech surged on Wall Street as Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Amazon.com Inc, Tesla Inc and Facebook Inc rose. The Nasdaq Composite gained 201.48 points, or 1.54per cent, to 13,246.87.

The S&P 500 gained 14.34 points, or 0.36per cent, to 3,972.89 to a fresh peak.

But the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 85.41 points, or 0.26per cent, to 32,981.55.

Biden’s US$2 trillion plan to create more affordable housing, rebuild roads, bridges and railways and provide incentives for electric vehicles, unveiled on Wednesday, faces a tough slog in the U.S. Congress, where Democrats hold a slim majority.

The size of this further stimulus is probably already baked into prices, said Mark Hampton, investment adviser at Hamilton Hindin Greene in Wellington.

Economic strengthening is “a bit of good news being bad news… making people wonder how long we’re going to live in this low-interest-rate, low-inflationary environment,” he said.

Though bond yields eased in U.S. trading, the shift was mainly portfolio rebalancing. Yields have been on a long march higher, with 10-year yields on course for their biggest quarterly rise since the fourth quarter of 2016.

The dollar index fell 0.038per cent, with the euro down 0.03per cent to US$1.1725.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.01per cent versus the greenback at 110.71 per dollar.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)



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