Asian shares close to 1-1/2 week highs, Bitcoin recoups losses

By Swati Pandey

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Asian shares hovered close to 1-1/2 week highs on Monday helped by expectations financial coverage will stay accommodative the world over, whereas COVID-19 vaccine rollouts assist ease fears of one other harmful wave of coronavirus infections.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outdoors Japan was final at 695.59, inside putting distance of Friday’s excessive of 696.48 – a degree not seen since Apr. 7.

The index jumped 1.2% final week and is up 5% up to now this yr, on monitor for its third straight yearly acquire.

“The extraordinarily supportive financial and financial coverage setting continues to offer a fertile surroundings for risk belongings,” mentioned Rodrigo Catril, senior foreign exchange strategist at Nationwide Australia Financial institution.

Australian shares have been 0.25% greater whereas New Zealand’s benchmark index and South Korea’s KOSPI added 0.4% every. Japan’s Nikkei eased 0.4%.

On Friday, the S&P 500 gained 0.4% to shut at a brand new document excessive whereas clocking its sixth straight weekly acquire. The Dow completed 0.5%, additionally at a document excessive whereas the Nasdaq climbed 0.1%.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 have been down 0.3% in early Asian buying and selling.

This week is off to a quiet begin with no main knowledge releases slated on Monday.

Traders will maintain their eyes peeled for earnings from IBM and Coca-Cola later within the day. Netflix studies on Tuesday whereas later within the week American Airways and Southwest would be the first main post-COVID cyclicals to put up outcomes.

The European Central Financial institution (ECB) meets on Thursday with no modifications to charges or steerage anticipated whereas preliminary knowledge on manufacturing facility exercise across the globe for April is due on Friday.

Elsewhere, Bitcoin, the world’s greatest cryptocurrency, recouped most of its losses after plunging as a lot as 14% on Sunday following hypothesis the U.S. Treasury could also be taking a look at cracking down on money-laundering exercise inside digital belongings, NAB’s Catril mentioned.

Knowledge web site CoinMarketCap cited a blackout in China’s Xinjiang area, which reportedly powers quite a lot of bitcoin mining, for the selloff.

The retreat in Bitcoin additionally comes after Turkey’s central financial institution banned the usage of cryptocurrencies for purchases on Friday.

Bitcoin is up greater than 90% yr so far, pushed by its mainstream acceptance as an funding and a way of cost, accompanied by the frenzy of retail money into shares, exchange-traded funds and different dangerous belongings.

In currencies, the U.S. greenback loitered close to a four-week low towards a basket of currencies as buyers more and more purchased into the Federal Reserve’s insistence it will maintain an accommodative coverage stance for some time longer.

The greenback index measuring the dollar towards a basket of six currencies was unchanged at 91.612, not removed from its lowest since March 18 touched on Friday.

In opposition to the Japanese yen, the dollar was off a contact at 108.72. The euro was a tad decrease at $1.1966 whereas the British pound eased 0.07% to $1.3820.

The risk-sensitive Aussie greenback slipped for a second straight day to be down 0.2% at $0.7715.

In commodities, oil costs have been down with the Brent slipping 34 cents to $66.43 a barrel and U.S. crude falling 29 cents to $62.84.

Gold was up 0.2% at $1,779.3 an oz..

(Modifying by Michael Perry)

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