ASIA MARKETS: Asian Markets Heat Up After Fresh Records On Wall Street; BOJ Stays Pat

By FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Nikkei gains as BOJ maintains inflation outlook; Samsung bounces back

Asian stocks powered higher Tuesday, building on continued records in the U.S. as the earnings season there began strongly and as investors shrugged off risks at home.

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Indexes in Hong Kong, China, Japan and South Korea rose more than 1%.

The gains came despite the U.S.'s imposing steep tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar panels (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/us-targets-china-with-steep-tariffs-on-solar-panels-washing-machines-2018-01-22), aimed mainly at Asian producers--including South Korean washing-machine makers Samsung Electronics (005930.SE) and LG Electronics (066570.SE) . Samsung rebounded 1.9% in Seoul, erasing most of its Monday's slide, while LG ended 0.5% higher after earlier dropping as much as 5% following the U.S. trade action.

Korea's Kospi finished with a 1.4% gain, its best since October, at a two-month high--just 0.8% below November's record.

Japan's Nikkei rose 1.3% to close above 24,000 for the first time since November 1991, continuing to climb even after the Bank of Japan's midday policy statement gave a fresh lift to the yen. A stronger yen tends to pressure a number of Japanese stocks.

For the first time in 3 1/2 years, the inflation expectation in the central bank's quarterly outlook was unchanged from the previous report, said Capital Economics' Marcel Thieliant. The report also said policy makers no longer see inflation expectations "weakening."

The yen later retreated, after BOJ Gov. Haruhiko Kuroda said the central bank hasn't reached the point at which it needs to consider how to exit monetary stimulus. The dollar was at Yen111.06 around the closing time of Asian markets to the dollar, after falling to as much as Yen110.59 earlier in the session.

Global equities have started the year strong. In the U.S., both the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite have had 11 record closes in the first 14 trading days (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/dow-futures-rally-100-points-as-investors-move-past-shutdown-worries-to-focus-on-earnings-2018-01-23). As for Asia's continued gains, "I'm bewildered myself," said Oriano Lizza, sales trader at CMC Markets in Singapore, saying the markets are tracking the U.S.

"They're ignoring any negative sentiment and homing in on anything remotely positive such as earnings that have come out of the U.S.," he said.

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 (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/shutdown-averted-for-now-as-congress-passes-temporary-budget-measure-2018-01-23) as negotiations on a longer-term deal continue. Congress approved the extension, ending a government shutdown, after the close of U.S. stock trading.

In Hong Kong, an index that tracks China-based companies that also trade in the city was up Tuesday for an 18th straight session, easily its longest ever. Hong Kong's benchmark Hang Seng itself rose 1.7%, climbing deeper into record territory.

In India, the Sensex topped 36,000 for the first time, just four sessions after hitting 35,000; in Taiwan, the Taiex index set another 28-year high.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 23, 2018 06:12 ET (11:12 GMT)

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