Asian stocks gain, yuan soars


A staff member counts Chinese currency renminbi at a bank in Linyi, East China's Shandong province. [Photo/Xinhua]

TOKYO/NEW YORK: Asian shares and U.S. stock futures rose on Wednesday as renewed hopes for a new round of U.S. stimulus drew money into equities from government debt.

European equities looked set to follow. Euro Stoxx 50 futures were up 0.25%, German DAX futures rose 0.28%, and FTSE futures gained 0.18%.

U.S. stock futures rose 0.71%.

The White House and Democrats in the U.S. Congress moved closer to agreement on a new coronavirus relief package on Tuesday as President Donald Trump said he was willing to accept a large aid bill despite opposition from his own Republican Party.

Negotiations will continue on Wednesday, an aide to top U.S. Democrat Nancy Pelosi said.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.51%, while Tokyo shares gained 0.42%.

Australian stocks edged up by 0.09%, but shares in China fell 0.33%.

The yuan surged to the strongest level against the dollar in more than two years on growing optimism about China's economy and speculation that a victory for U.S. Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden next month will lead to better Sino-U.S. ties.

Benchmark U.S. Treasury yields hit a four-month high and the yield curve steepened on expectations for more U.S. fiscal spending, but some investors remain cautious about the chances of a deal before the U.S. presidential election on Nov. 3.

"More stimulus means stocks rise and yields rise," said Junichi Ishikawa, senior foreign exchange strategist at IG Securities in Tokyo.

"Without stimulus, everything goes into reverse. U.S. President Donald Trump is attacking Biden before the election, which could impact stimulus negotiations. However, it is also damaging for the Democrats if they continue to hold out."

On Wall Street, shares of Google parent company Alphabet rose despite an antitrust lawsuit against it by the U.S. Justice Department.

Netflix, however, reported disappointing earnings, leading its shares to fall 6% after trading hours.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 0.40%.. The S&P 500 rose 0.47%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite rose 0.33%.

The onshore yuan jumped to 6.6444 per dollar, the strongest since July 2018. Yuan bulls have been encouraged by recent signs from the People's Bank of China that it is more comfortable with currency appreciation, with exports remaining strong.

The U.S. dollar hit a one-month low against a basket of major currencies as investors awaited the outcome of the fiscal stimulus talks and as coronavirus cases spiked in Europe.

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields hit a four-month high of 0.8330% and the yield curve reached the steepest level in more than four months on hopes lawmakers could agree on a stimulus package.

Oil prices fell on Wednesday after a surprise climb in U.S. crude stockpiles added to concerns about a global supply glut.

Brent crude futures fell 0.49% to $42.95 a barrel while U.S. crude futures slipped by 0.43% to $41.52 per barrel. - Reuters

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Yuan , stimulus hopes , equities , government debt

   

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