Asia markets rally as Tokyo and Sydney break through

 07 Nov 2017 - 11:32

Asia markets rally as Tokyo and Sydney break through

AFP

Hong Kong: Asian markets rose Tuesday, with Tokyo and Sydney breaking through historic ceilings thanks to strong corporate earnings and a positive global growth outlook.

Japan's Nikkei closed at its highest level since January 1992, and Sydney's S&P/ASX 200 broke above the psychologically important 6,000 points barrier for the first time since the global financial crisis.

The upward trend tracked overnight records on Wall Street, where US stocks hit fresh highs for the second straight day amid a tech-sector mega-merger, rising oil prices, solid economic data and a series of strong earnings reports.

In Asia markets appeared to have shrugged off nervousness over tensions on the Korean peninsula, with US President Donald Trump visiting Seoul.

Trump arrived Tuesday for a two-day visit to South Korea, which he had previously accused of appeasing the North.

There had been fears that Trump's rhetoric or mere presence close to North Korea would raise tensions with Pyongyang or trigger further weapons tests by the nuclear-armed regime.

But so far there have been no significant developments to upset the markets.

A more alarming development for traders in Seoul -- where shares slipped 0.2 percent -- was the possible renegotiation of the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement.

Japan's rally has been aided by a strong earnings season, with Toyota on Tuesday the latest major corporate to raise its profit forecast for the year. 

Japan's number-one carmaker said its net profit rose 13.2 percent to 1.07 trillion yen ($9.4 billion) for the six months to September, citing a cheaper yen and cost-cutting efforts.

In Sydney improving oil and iron ore prices sent Australian mining stocks higher, while the central bank left interest rates at a record low.

Hong Kong was also up 1.3 percent in afternoon trade, while Singapore rose 0.8.

Singapore-based Broadcom's $130-billion unsolicited bid for rival chip manufacturer Qualcomm in a cash and stock offer, announced overnight, sent chip-related shares broadly higher.

- Oil on the rise -

Oil prices retreated slightly in Asian trade Tuesday as traders engaged in profit-taking after both key crude benchmarks had reached levels not seen in over two years.

Crude has been on an upward trajectory in recent months due to growing global demand as OPEC leads efforts to limit supply.

It was boosted further overnight as geopolitical tensions surged between Saudi Arabia and Iran, sparking fears of a conflict that could disrupt supplies from two major producers.

Traders are also keeping a close eye on Saudi Arabia's sweeping crackdown on princes and ministers, with billionaire tycoon Al-Waleed bin Talal arrested on corruption allegations.