Asian Stocks Set to Edge Higher; Dollar Declines

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(April 9): Asian stocks were set for modest gains after their U.S. counterparts edged higher as investors awaited signs of progress on trade ahead. Treasuries dropped alongside the dollar, while oil hit a five-month high.

Futures were slightly higher in Tokyo, Sydney and Hong Kong after the S&P 500 eked out a gain in thin volumes, rising to just over a percent from its all-time high. Investors are scrambling for fresh catalysts to take a global equity rally further after trade talks ended last week in Washington without any timetable for an agreement. Crude rose for a second day as an escalation of fighting in OPEC producer Libya overshadowed the biggest increase in U.S. active rigs since May.

Following a stellar first quarter across many asset classes, investors are assessing prospects for further gains as the U.S and China seek to come to a final agreement on trade and earnings season gets underway. Despite a lack of details emerging from last week’s discussions, Trump economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the two sides are closer to a deal, and that top-tier officials would be talking this week.

Elsewhere, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan cited “widespread irregularities” in local elections in Istanbul, sending the lira lower.

Here are some notable events coming up:

U.S. banks begin reporting first-quarter earnings, led by JPMorgan and Wells Fargo. Israel votes in an election Tuesday. The annual Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the IMF begin in Washington Tuesday. The ECB will probably leave its key interest rates unchanged Wednesday. Investors will be looking for further details on TLTRO.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

Futures on the Nikkei 225 rose 0.1 percent in Singapore. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index futures added 0.2 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index contracts rose 0.2 percent. The S&P 500 Index rose 0.1 percent.

Currencies

The yen was steady at 111.50 per dollar after gaining 0.2 percent. The offshore yuan held at 6.7184 per dollar. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.3 percent. The euro held onto a 0.4 percent increase to trade at $1.1261, the strongest in almost two weeks, in early Asia trading. The British pound was stable at $1.3058.

Bonds

The yield on 10-year Treasuries gained more than two basis points to 2.52 percent.

Commodities

West Texas Intermediate crude rose 2.1 percent to $64.40 a barrel, the highest in five months. Gold was little changed at $1,297.50 an ounce. - Bloomberg