(Bloomberg) — Asian stocks started the week with modest gains following strong U.S. economic data and positive comments out of Washington on the trade talks. Trading may be subdued as much of the region heads into Lunar New Year holidays.
Japanese stocks climbed, partly buoyed by a weaker yen, which held losses from Friday after a better-than-expected U.S. jobs report. Australian stocks also advanced, while Hong Kong shares were little changed. Over the weekend, U.S. President Donald Trump told CBS trade talks with Beijing are “doing very well” and sounded confident an agreement with North Korea was on the horizon.
On Friday, U.S. stocks eked out a small gain as the jobs reading and manufacturing PMI data overshadowed a disappointing sales forecast from Amazon. The dollar was steady with U.S. Treasury yields, which held gains made in the wake of the employment data. Oil held above $55 a barrel in New York, having reaching its highest since November.
After a busy few days for markets marked by dovish Federal Reserve comments and U.S.-China trade talks in Washington, there’s a notable lack of catalysts for traders this week, particularly in Asia, where China is off all week and other markets will be shut for days. Investors may again look for direction from a corporate earnings season that’s been indecisive so far.
“If we see some sort of inflection in economic growth stabilizing, then people can have more confidence in earnings,” Peter Wilmshurst, a portfolio manager at Templeton Global Equities in Melbourne, said on Bloomberg TV. Last year’s slump “leaves the valuations of many stocks around the world looking pretty interesting to us, particularly outside the U.S.”
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Elsewhere, Venezuelans marched in dueling protests Saturday, with the two men who claim to be the nation’s leader each exhorting followers to hold firm. The country’s outlook is being followed by oil traders given its role in global exports.
Among key events in the coming days:
Markets across Asia, including China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam, will close for part or all of the week to mark the start of the Year of the Pig.China, Korea, Taiwan markets are closed Monday. U.S. President Donald Trump delivers a delayed State of the Union address Tuesday On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell hosts a town hall meeting with educators, his first public comments following the January FOMC meeting and rate decision. On Tuesday, the Reserve Bank of Australia sets monetary policy. On Thursday, the Bank of England sets interest rates and updates its economic forecasts. No change in policy is expected. Also Thursday, the Reserve Bank of India unveils a rate decision.Earnings season continues, including reports from Alphabet (Google), Twitter, Hasbro, Ryanair, Disney, Philip Morris, SoftBank, BNP Paribas, ING, MetLife, Societe Generale
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These are the main moves in markets:
Japan’s Topix index gained 0.9 percent as of 10:47 a.m. in Tokyo.Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index rose 0.4 percent.Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was little changed. S&P 500 Index futures rose 0.1 percent. The S&P 500 rose 0.1 percent Friday.
The Japanese yen was little changed at 109.52 per dollar after falling 0.6 percent Friday.The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was flat.The euro was little changed at $1.1457.The British pound was at $1.3083.
The yield on 10-year Treasuries was little changed around 2.68 percent after rising five basis points Friday.
West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 0.2 percent to $55.14 a barrel. It surged 2.7 percent Friday.Gold fell 0.2 percent to $1,314.95 an ounce.