Asian stocks up after Xmas tech results cheer Wall Street

Hong Kong, Dec 27 (AFP/APP): Many Asian markets rose in early trade on Friday following another strong lead from Wall Street where tech stocks won big with strong Christmas results.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq finished above 9,000 for the first time on Thursday, hitting its 10th straight record fuelled by gains by e-commerce behemoth Amazon and other tech giants. The Dow and the S&P 500 also closed higher.

In early Asian trade, Hong Kong put on 1.3 percent and Shanghai gained 0.7 percent, while Sydney, Seoul and Singapore were also higher.

Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei 225 index inched up 0.1 percent.

A report by Mastercard Spending Plus estimated that holiday shopping sales rose by a better-than-expected 3.4 percent this year, with e-commerce taking a bigger bite of overall sales.

US consumers’ “willingness to open the purse strings has offset declining business investment in the face of the trade war and economic uncertainty”, Stephen Innes, chief Asia market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note.

Amazon jumped 4.5 percent after boasting of another “record” performance this season.

Other tech giants including Apple, Google parent Alphabet and Facebook all gained at least one percent.

“Santa Claus appears to have returned to Wall Street overnight… dropping off another round of goodies for investors,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst for Asia-Pacific at OANDA, said in a note.

“Wall Street’s ‘buy everything and win’ afterglow will inevitably spill over to Asia today with most of the region back at work.”

The holiday spending results have added to the positive sentiment across trading floors following the US-China trade thaw, and the expectation that the “phase one” deal between Washington and Beijing will be finalised next month.

Markets have been spooked since US President Donald Trump launched his trade war against China, and analysts have voiced fears about the impact of the bruising spat on global economic growth.

Oil continued its rise, with both main contracts up, driven by US-China trade hopes and sustained demand, analysts said.

Brent Crude was up 0.1 percent, and West Texas Intermediate was 0.2 percent higher.

“Optimism about trade helped the outlook for global growth and with it the demand for oil while the US consumer is showing few signs of tightening their purse strings, which is positive for oil also,” wrote AxiTrader’s Innes.

– Key figures around 0330 GMT –

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 0.1 percent at 23,939.07
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.3 percent at 28,215.83
Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.7 percent at 3,028.53
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2995 from $1.2991 at 0750 GMT Thursday
Euro/pound: UP at 85.55 pence from 85.37 pence
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1119 from $1.1091
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 109.46 from 109.55
Brent Crude: UP 10 cents at $68.02 per barrel
West Texas Intermediate: UP 15 cents at $61.83 per barrel
New York – Dow: UP 0.4 percent at 28,621.39 (close)
New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.8 percent at 9,022.39 (close)
New York – S&P 500: UP 0.5 percent at 3,239.91 (close).

 

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