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Asian stocks gain as US market hits a fresh record

Wednesday 03:40 BST


Asian stocks rose, boosted by a fresh record high for the S&P 500 and low levels of volatility.

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South Korea’s was the only Asian stock market in negative territory, pulling back 0.3 per cent from Monday’s record high.

The market was shut on Tuesday as the country held its nation election, which was won comfortably by the liberal Moon Jae-in. His victory put to an end nine years of conservative rule in South Korea, most recently with the presidency of Park Geun-hye, who was impeached for her role in a corruption scandal.

The South Korean won was 0.6 per cent stronger against the US dollar.


Japan’s Topix was up 0.2 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.6 per cent. In China the Shanghai Composite was flat.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 0.4 per cent with industrials and materials stocks offsetting another day of declines for banks. The four major lenders — Commonwealth Bank, Westpac, National Australia Bank and ANZ Banking Group — and Macquarie Group spent most of the morning in negative territory after the treasurer on Tuesday announced a levy on bank liabilities that would cost the lenders about A$6.2bn over the next four years. ANZ managed to recover into positive territory, up 0.8 per cent, but its peers were still down between 0.3 per cent and 0.8 per cent.

In New York, the S&P 500 briefly crossed above the 2,400 barrier for the first time ever, before easing to close 0.1 per cent lower. The Vix, Wall Street’s fear gauge, edged up to 9.96, closing below 10 points for a second day straight, and the first time since early 2007.


Major currencies were higher in Asia after taking a knock on Tuesday when the US dollar rose by the most since early March. The dollar index, a measure of the greenback against global peers, was down 0.3 per cent today, having gained 0.6 per cent the previous day.

The Japanese yen was 0.2 per cent stronger at ¥113.80 per dollar, having softened to ¥114 in the past 24 hours.

The Australian dollar firmed 0.1 per cent to $0.7353, while the euro was up 0.2 per cent at $1.0893.


Oil prices were recovering after a drop of more than 1 per cent on Tuesday. Brent crude, the international benchmark, was up 0.6 per cent at $49.02 a barrel while West Texas Intermediate gained 0.7 per cent to $46.21.

Gold was up 0.1 per cent at $1,222.13 an ounce.

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