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Asia shares aim to break losing streak

Asia shares aim to break losing streak
November 3, 2015
SYDNEY - Asian share markets crept ahead on Tuesday after the benchmark for US tech stocks hit its highest in 15 years, while a holiday in Japan kept currencies tethered within recent tight ranges. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan firmed 1.1 percent after losing ground for five straight sessions. Australian stocks bounced 1.2 percent, recouping a little ground after a vicious run of selling. In China, the CSI300 index of the largest listed companies in Shanghai and Shenzhen was all but flat. Wall Street had boasted gains across all sectors, led by increases in the beaten-down energy group and the acquisition-driven healthcare industry. The Dow ended Monday with gains of 0.94 percent, while the S&P 500 added 1.19 percent and the Nasdaq rose 1.45 percent to its highest close since 2000. While data showed US manufacturing activity ticked lower for a fourth month, a rise in new orders offered hope for better times ahead. Also, construction spending rose in September to the highest in 7-1/2 years. In contrast, government bonds were pressured by improving economic data in Europe and comments from European Central Bank officials that cast doubt on the need for more stimulus. Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny said the ECB was right to consider stepping up its bond buying to boost inflation but had to think very carefully before doing so. That pushed up yields across the euro zone while yields on US 10-year Treasuries reached their highest in five weeks at 2.189 percent. Activity was much lighter in currencies where investors are awaiting clarity on whether the Federal Reserve will start hiking rates in December. The dollar index was barely changed at 96.908 after drifting between 96.635 and 96.965. The euro was hemmed in a tight $1.1000-$1.1053 range and last stood at $1.1013. Against the yen, the greenback was equally restrained at 120.70. The Australian dollar held at $0.7167 ahead of the outcome of a central bank policy meeting that could deliver the first rate cut since May. A majority of analysts polled by Reuters doubt the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will ease this week, and the market has been slowly lengthening the odds of a move. A decision will be announced at 0330 GMT. In commodities, oil has been weighed by the prospect of weak Chinese demand and record-high Russian production. Brent was off a cent at $48.78 a barrel, while US crude clawed back 6 cents to $46.22 a barrel. -Reuters
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