Most Asia markets up, Tokyo lifted by weak yen

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HONG KONG: Most Asian markets rose again Friday following another positive lead from Wall Street, with
Tokyo boosted by a plunging yen, although traders remain nervous about the outlook for global trade with Donald Trump in the White House.

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After one of the best weeks in January, gains were tempered with investors taking a breather as they keep an eye on developments in Washington where Trump is pushing on with his “America first” agenda.

Markets surged in the two months after Trump’s November election win on hopes his plans for big infrastructure spending, tax cuts and slashing red tape would fan the world’s biggest economy and, in turn, global growth.

The new year saw a retreat as his failure to provide any detail of his economic plans led to worries about his determination to follow through with his campaign promises.

But his decision to give the go-ahead to controversial oil pipelines across the US lifted spirits on trading floors earlier in the week as it was taken as a sign the tycoon would deliver.

In New York on Wednesday the Dow broke 20,000 for the first time and on Thursday extended those gains. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq are also sitting around record highs.

Asian markets have followed suit, rallying for most of this week.

On Friday Tokyo rose 0.3 percent as the dollar held Thursday’s rise against the yen. There was also some lift on news that Japanese consumer prices fell in December but at a slower pace than the previous month.
Sydney ended 0.8 percent higher, Singapore gained 0.4 percent and Manila put on 0.2 percent.

Hong Kong ended down 0.1 percent after a four-day rally.

Activity was thin across markets heading into the Lunar New Year break, while Shanghai and Seoul were already closed.

 

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