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Asia markets take breather, dollar holds up after rally

Asia markets take breather, dollar holds up after rally

Asian investors eased off the pedal Wednesday after their recent gains while the dollar held up against the yen ...

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13.09.2017 03:34 PM

Asian investors eased off the pedal Wednesday after their recent gains while the dollar held up against the yen as North Korea kept itself in the mix by warning it would ramp up its nuclear weapons programme in response to fresh UN sanctions.

While Tokyo was able to kick on thanks to a further weakening of the yen, traders were unwilling to track a record close for all three main Wall Street indexes and Apple-linked firms were mixed after the firm unveiled its new phone.

The latest gains have been fuelled by relief that Hurricane Irma did not hammer Florida as badly as feared and that the North Korea crisis had settled somewhat after its recent provocative nuclear and missile tests.

However, Pyongyang continued to take up attention when it vowed Wednesday to accelerate its weapons drive after "evil" Security Council sanctions.

President Donald Trump had earlier warned of more measures against Kim Jong-Un's regime, while the European Union said it would push ahead with further moves.

In equities trade Tokyo was 0.6 percent higher as exporters benefited from the weaker yen. The greenback broke back above 110 yen Tuesday after last week's sell-off saw it tumble to the 10-month lows around 107.30 yen.

Sydney added 0.1 percent and Seoul was 0.2 percent higher. But Hong Kong slipped 0.3 percent by the break and Shanghai eased 0.1 percent, while Singapore gave up 0.3 percent with Wellington and Taipei also lower.

In other currency trading the pound extended gains after hitting a one-year high against the dollar on the back of a strong British inflation reading, while it was also given support by the return of optimism to markets.

Apple suppliers mixed

However, OANDA head of Asia-Pacific trading Stephen Innes issued a word of caution after the recent run of global volatility.

"Ultimately this buoyant risk sentiment should be cheered, but forex traders remain in the Nervous Nellie camp waiting for the next chaotic patch given the evolving narratives," he warned.

"A word of caution to those enjoying this unexpected sea of tranquillity: the next few weeks and months come with significant risk."

The release later this week of US inflation figures will be closely followed as the Federal Reserve ponders another interest rate hike and the winding in of its stimulus programme.

Analysts said policymakers could have a little more time to make a move in light of Hurricane Irma in Florida and last month's Harvey in Texas, which could skew the data the Fed relies on to make its decision.

Apple suppliers in the region were mixed after the US tech titan unveiled its long-awaited iPhone X and two other models. Apple ended lower in New York trade as investors shrugged.

In Japan component-maker Nidec jumped 4.09 percent and semi-conductor manufacturer Rohm advanced 1.13 percent, while Sharp was up 1.47 percent. But in Taipei, TSMC retreated 0.68 percent and Hon Hai gave up 0.85 percent.

Key figures around 0530 GMT

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.6 percent at 19,887.04

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 0.3 percent at 27,889.95 (break)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,376.39 (break)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1987 from $1.1964 at 2130 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 110.09 from 110.18 yen 

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3312 from $1.3280 

Oil - West Texas Intermediate: FLAT at $48.23 per barrel

Oil - Brent North Sea: DOWN 13 cents at $54.14

New York - DOW: UP 0.3 percent at 22,118.86 (close)

London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.2 percent at 7,400.69 (close)
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