Stocks Extend Gains After Starting 2018 on a High Note

By Kenan Machado Features Dow Jones Newswires

Asian equities extended last week's global stock rally, with most indexes strengthening Monday morning even as fresh regulatory steps in China weighed on stocks in Hong Kong and China.

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Indexes in both markets fell by as much as 0.5%, with financial stocks weakening after China's banking regulator issued fresh regulations late Friday. OCBC Bank said the latest proposals send a clear message that fundamentals and transparency will be the course for China's commercial banks to contain financial risks.

The sector's stocks rose strongly in both China and Hong Kong last week. China Construction Bank was down 1% in Hong Kong.

But more broadly, "there are no signs of a pullback yet," said Margaret Yang, a market analyst at CMC. Asian equities should maintain a positive outlook as major markets are set to keep building on recent gains, she added.

Gains for most major indexes in Asia were no more than 0.3% in markets including Australia, South Korea and Taiwan. But New Zealand's NZX 50 benchmark turned lower midday after setting three straight record closing highs last week. It was recently down 0.3%.

The benchmark indexes in Australia and South Korea rose by as much as 0.7% in morning trade before surrendering some gains.

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Singapore's Straits Times Index rose 0.4%, reversing some of its weakness Friday, when it was the only main stock benchmark in the region that fell.

Japanese markets were closed Monday for a holiday.

S&P 500 futures were up 0.1%, after the S&P 500 had its best start to the year since 2006.

Oil futures started the week higher, reversing some of Friday's pullback. Both the U.S. and global benchmarks were 0.3% higher in early Asian trading.

Also, bitcoin continued to pull back, recently changing hands at $16,000, according to CoinDesk. It was at $17,000 over the weekend.

Write to Kenan Machado at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 07, 2018 22:02 ET (03:02 GMT)