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04 Jan 2017 07:27 GMT+0 - Opening Wrap

In Asian Equity Markets Japan's Nikkei index started 2017 trading on a strong note on Wednesday as investors cheered upbeat global economic data released during Japan's holidays, and a weaker yen boosted exporters. The Nikkei rose 2.5 percent to 19.594.16, making the biggest gains in about two months and closing at its highest level since early December 2015. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan was on track for a seventh straight session of gains, with stocks up 0.2 percent. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.27 percent, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index was flat. At the close in Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.06 percent to hit a new 52-week high.


In Currency Markets the dollar moved back towards a 14-year peak on Wednesday as U.S. debt yields resumed climbing, giving a lift against the safe-haven yen amid strong investor appetite for riskier assets. The dollar index against a basket of major currencies was up 0.1 percent at 103.30. The euro was down 0.1 percent at $1.0394  after briefly recovering to $1.0423. It hit a 14-year trough of $1.0340 overnight. Against the Japanese yen, the greenback was up 0.2 percent at 111.970 after falling to 117.540. The Australian dollar was up 0.3 percent at $0.7238 and the New Zealand dollar lost 0.2 percent to $0.6903. The pound was little changed at $1.2238 after stooping overnight to a two-month low of $1.2200.


In Commodities Markets oil edged higher on Wednesday, with top exporter Saudi Arabia expected to raise prices for its crude as part of planned supply cuts, although a strong dollar and moderate economic growth prospects restricted gains. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were trading at $52.65 per barrel, up 0.6 percent, from the last settlement. International Brent crude futures were up 0.6 percent, at $55.79 a barrel. Spot gold was up 0.3 percent at $1,162.68 an ounce. Meanwhile, silver was up 0.6 percent at $16.37 an ounce, after hitting near three-week highs in the last session. Platinum fell 0.5 percent to $932.40, having risen over 4 percent the day before. Palladium gained 0.6 percent to $713.30 an ounce.


In US Equity Markets stocks  rose sharply on Tuesday as a post-election rally extended into the new year, helped by gains in Verizon Communications and technology companies Alphabet and Facebook. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 0.6 percent, to end at 19,881.76 points and the S&P 500  gained 0.85 percent to 2,257.83. The Nasdaq Composite added 0.85 percent to 5,429.08. Verizon gave the biggest boost to the S&P 500, rising 2.25 percent after Citigroup upgraded the stock to "buy." The S&P health index rose 1.40 percent, with Merck & Co up 2.17 percent and Gilead Sciences rising 3.56 percent. The S&P utilities index fell 0.30 percent, the only index down among 11 S&P sectors.


In Bond Markets  Japanese government bond prices fell on Wednesday, dragged down by lower U.S. Treasuries and caution ahead of the 10-year debt auction later in the week.  The benchmark 10-year JGB yield was up 2.5 basis points at 0.065 percent and the 30-year yield rose 3 basis points to 0.740 percent. Japan's finance ministry will auction 2.4 trillion yen ($20.34 billion) of 10-year JGBs on Thursday.



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