SINGAPORE – Asia-Pacific stocks rose in early trading Thursday as US markets hit highs again after data showed inflation wasn’t as bad as feared. The dollar weakened while Asian currencies rose.
Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose 0.58% while the Topix rose 0.73%. In South Korea, the kospi increased slightly.
The Australian S & P / ASX 200 rose 0.26%.
On profit, Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry, better known as Foxconn, will release its second quarter financial results on Thursday.
Markets will continue to monitor the Covid situation in the region after the World Health Organization warned that global cases could exceed 300 million by early next year if the pandemic continues in its current direction. The forecast came just a week after the WHO reported 200 million Covid cases worldwide and six months after the globe topped 100 million cases.
Meanwhile, South Korea reported a new daily record of more than 2,200 cases, according to Reuters, its health minister said on Wednesday.
In Australia, Melbourne extended its lockdown for another week as it struggles to contain the highly contagious Delta variant.
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The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 rose on Wednesday after inflation rose less than investors feared when they canceled volatile food and energy prices.
The 30-strong Dow rose 220.30 points, or 0.6%, to 35,484.97 and closed on a new record. The S&P 500 rose 0.2% to 4,447.70 and also hit an all-time high. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost more than 0.1% to 14,765.14.
Asian currencies benefit from a weaker dollar
The US dollar index, which tracks the greenback versus a basket of its competitors, fell from above 93.1 levels to 92.889 yesterday.
“The US dollar traded lower against all major currencies after the US inflation report showed consumer prices slowed in July,” 60Second Investor co-founder Kathy Lien wrote in a note.
The Australian and New Zealand dollars benefited the most from the US dollar weakness and risky rally, she said.
On Thursday morning, the Australian dollar changed hands at $ 0.7372, strengthening from yesterday’s level above $ 0.732. The New Zealand dollar was trading at 0.7041, from below 0.70 levels earlier this week.
“AUD resilience is surprising as the government extends lockdowns in Sydney and Melbourne after the number of new COVID-19 cases hit new record highs in Sydney,” Lien wrote.
Meanwhile, the Japanese yen was trading at 110.34, recovering from levels above 110.7 the previous day.
Oil prices changed little
On the morning of the Asia hour, oil prices barely changed. Brent crude oil futures traded unchanged at USD 71.44 a barrel. US crude oil futures were just below the flatline, trading at $ 69.24 a barrel.