ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Flirt With Milestones As Monthlong Rally Continues

By Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

Taiwan hits 27-year high, Nikkei nears 21-year peak

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The monthlong global stock rally continued early Wednesday, with Asian stocks mostly higher and Japan's Nikkei making a fresh run at its best close since 1996.

The markets seem to be comfortable with the U.S. Federal Reserve's plan to remain on its rate-increase path, as it signals confidence that the economy there is accelerating, said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets.

Though European and American investors could pull capital from Asia, the region's underlying fundamentals are pretty strong, he added, with valuations "much less stretched."

Leading the way early Wednesday was Taiwan, where trading resumed following a four-day holiday. The Taiex quickly caught up, rising 1.1% and briefly touching a new 27-year high. The benchmark, dominated by tech names, had suffered a bit of a glitch late last quarter as worries developed about initial sales of Apple's (AAPL) latest iPhones.

Tech also continued to boost South Korea's stock market, with the Kospi up 0.7% to near its record, set in July. Samsung (005930.SE) hit a record, rising 2.3%; for the year, it is now up 50%.

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Japanese stocks shook off early Wednesday weakness that followed modest gains overnight in the yen; a stronger currency caps results for the country's exporters. The Nikkei was recently up 0.1%. The dollar was recently around Yen112.40, versus Yen112.67 at yesterday's stock-market close.

A Tuesday afternoon rally had ended with the Nikkei just 45 points below what would be its highest finish in 21 years. The index has jumped 8% in the past five weeks.

An Oct. 25 snap election, announced by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sept. 25, is expected to keep his ruling coalition in charge.

Australian stocks rose further after a Tuesday pause ended a solid two-day rebound, with the S&P/ASX 200 up 0.6%. The country's big banks gained and there was a bounce in oil-related stocks after an overnight rebound in crude prices. Oil futures rose slightly further in Asian trading Wednesday.

New Zealand's benchmark rose 0.2%, putting it on course for what would be a record-setting seventh-straight all-time closing high.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 10, 2017 23:22 ET (03:22 GMT)