Asian shares set to edge up, after Wall Street tech rally


Asian stocks were set to edge higher early on Thursday after big tech rallied on Wall Street and as President Joe Biden announced a multi-trillion-dollar infrastructure investment plan.

The dollar, meanwhile, hit a one-year high against the yen and multi-month peaks with other currencies as investors bet U.S. fiscal stimulus and aggressive vaccinations will help the United States lead a global pandemic recovery.

Tech stocks were likely to push Australian shares higher at least initially on Thursday in Asia, but optimism could be cooled by concerns about inflation and interest rates.

Australian S&P/ASX 200 futures rose 0.28% in early trading, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures rose 0.81%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 futures fell 0.10%.

Big tech surged on Wall Street as Apple Inc, Microsoft Corp, Inc, Tesla Inc and Facebook Inc rose. The Nasdaq Composite gained 201.48 points, or 1.54%, to 13,246.87.

The S&P 500 gained 14.34 points, or 0.36%, to 3,972.89 to a fresh peak.

But the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 85.41 points, or 0.26%, to 32,981.55.

Biden’s $ 2 trillion plan to create more affordable housing, rebuild roads, bridges and railways and provide incentives for electric vehicles, unveiled on Wednesday, faces a tough slog in the U.S. Congress, where Democrats hold a slim majority.

The size of this further stimulus is probably already baked into prices, said Mark Hampton, investment adviser at Hamilton Hindin Greene in Wellington.

Economic strengthening is “a bit of good news being bad news… making people wonder how long we’re going to live in this low-interest-rate, low-inflationary environment,” he said.

Though bond yields eased in U.S. trading, the shift was mainly portfolio rebalancing. Yields have been on a long march higher, with 10-year yields on course for their biggest quarterly rise since the fourth quarter of 2016.

The dollar index fell 0.038%, with the euro down 0.03% to $ 1.1725.

The Japanese yen weakened 0.01% versus the greenback at 110.71 per dollar.