ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Heat Up After Fresh Records On Wall Street

By Gregor Stuart Hunter Features Dow Jones Newswires

Nikkei gains as BOJ stays pat; Samsung bounces back

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Most Asian stock markets rose further Tuesday morning, with strong U.S. earnings lifting investor confidence.

Major stock indexes in Japan, Hong Kong and South Korea rose as much as 1% by midday after the U.S. Congress voted to end a government shutdown. They rose despite a U.S. move to impose steep tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar panels, which was aimed mainly at Asian producers.

While Samsung Electronics (005930.SE) rebounded 0.6% in Seoul to reverse some of Monday's slide, rival LG Electronics (066570.SE) fell 2.3% following the U.S. trade action.

"I'm bewildered myself" about the continued stock gains, said Oriano Lizza, sales trader at CMC Markets in Singapore. "What we've seen recently is Asian markets tracking U.S. performance...they're ignoring any negative sentiment and homing in on anything remotely positive such as earnings that have come out of the U.S."

The major U.S. indexes set fresh record highs Monday after leaders in the Senate said they reached a deal to fund the federal government for three weeks as negotiations on a longer-term deal continue. Congress approved the extension after the close of U.S. stock trading.

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With the U.S. dollar flat and 10-year Treasury yields remaining around 2.66%, Japan's Nikkei Stock Average ended morning trading up 0.9%, led by durable consumer goods makers and health-care stocks.

Graphite developer Tokai Carbon (5301.TO) climbed 4.4%, putting its surge for the month at 20%, while Mitsubishi Motors (7211.TO) rose 1.9%.

As expected, the Bank of Japan kept its deposit rate at negative 0.1% and maintained its yield target on the 10-year JGB at around 0%.

The yen hit session highs following the BOJ's first policy statement of 2018, with the U.S. dollar dropping to Yen110.65 from Yen111 earlier. The central bank said its expectations for inflation were little changed, after previously saying they expected a weakening phase.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was recently up 0.8% while indexes in Shanghai and Australia were up similarly.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 22, 2018 22:39 ET (03:39 GMT)