Upbeat US data lifts stocks, euro slips on Catalan vote

22 Dec, 2017 8:36 am

TOKYO (Reuters) – Asian stocks edged up on Friday on new data pointing to steady growth in the US economy, while the euro slipped after a vote in Catalonia favored separatists wanting to break away from Spain.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was 0.25 percent higher.

The region’s equities took cues from Wall Street, after all three major indexes posted gains overnight on strength in bank and energy stocks and news the US economy grew in the third quarter at its fastest pace in more than two years.

Supporting US stocks this week, and by extension global equities, was the passage of $1.5 trillion tax-cutting bill through Congress.

Australian stocks advanced 0.4 percent, South Korea’s KOSPI .KS11 gained 0.15 percent and Japan’s Nikkei .N225 stood little changed.

In currencies, the euro was down 0.25 percent to $1.1842 EUR= as preliminary results from regional votes on Thursday showed pro-independence parties in Catalonia keeping an absolute majority.

“Some speculators appeared to have sold the euro in thin trading,” said Yukio Ishizuki, senior currency strategist at Daiwa Securities in Tokyo.

“The overall impact of the Catalan vote on the euro and the wider global markets is likely to be limited, however. Catalonia cannot become a sovereign state if no other country recognizes its independence. It won’t even be able to have its own currency under such conditions.”

The dollar was steady at 113.350 yen JPY=.

The dollar index against a basket of six major currencies was 0.15 percent higher at 93.425 .DXY.

The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield US10YT=RR was at 2.482 percent, having pulled back slightly from a nine-month peak above 2.500 percent scaled the previous day.

Treasury yields climbed earlier this week after Congress approved a US tax code overhaul that was expected to lift economic growth and add at least $1 trillion to the national debt in 10 years.

US crude futures CLc1 slipped 0.35 percent to $58.16 per barrel. The contracts had reached a nine-day peak of $58.38 overnight as OPEC started working on plans for an exit strategy from its deal to cut crude supplies, fuelling hopes it would not end supply cuts abruptly.

Must Watch