Stock Markets Quiet as Bitcoin Jumps Again

By Kenan MachadoFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Asian stock markets started the week on a quiet note with some investors watching the start of trading in bitcoin futures.

Markets are looking to policy decisions from central banks in the U.S., U.K. and European Union later this week, watching for potential policy road maps for 2018.

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Bitcoin prices jumped back above $15,000 just as futures trading began on a Cboe Global Markets exchange, according to CoinDesk, after the volatile cryptocurrency fell toward $13,000 over the weekend. It was recently around $15,800.

Beyond some profit-taking in stocks after this year's surge in many parts of Asia, market participants have been intrigued by bitcoin's rise and might look at reinvesting profits there, said Alex Wijaya, head of Southeast Asia at forex-trading-services firm AxiCorp.

In the wake of Friday's global stock rally, indexes in Japan, Australia, South Korea and China were among those recently within 0.1% of Friday's finishing levels. S&P 500 futures were also up less than 0.1%.

But Taiwan's Taiex jumped 0.8% early amid broad gains in tech names. Apple product supplier Hon Hai rebounded 3.6% to halve this month's pullback. The Taiex last week hit its lowest levels since late September amid the recent global selloff in tech stocks.

Tech names also posted early gains in Japan.

The dollar was up slightly further in Asian trading, pressuring down the yen and oil prices. The greenback was recently at Yen113.65, versus Yen113.39 at the end of Japanese stock trading Friday. However, that wasn't helping the Nikkei in early trading.

The WSJ Dollar Index rose 0.9% last week, notching its biggest weekly gain of the year.

Meanwhile, Brent oil futures were recently down 0.5%, reversing some of Friday's increase. End-of-week strength in oil and metals helped some Australian stocks, with Woodside Petroleum and Fortescue Metals rising slightly more than 1%.

Write to Kenan Machado at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

December 10, 2017 21:15 ET (02:15 GMT)