Asian shares rise to 8-month highs, on track for weekly gains
TOKYO, July 15 (Reuters) – Asian shares rose to eight-month highs on Friday, on track for solid weekly gains, as record highs on Wall Street offset the impact on sentiment of an attack in France that lifted the safe-haven yen.
An attacker killed at least 73 people and injured scores when he drove a truck at high speed into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks in the French Riviera city of Nice late on Thursday.
"I don’t think that will have a big impact on the market today" in Asian trading, said Kaneo Ogino, director at foreign exchange research firm Global-info Co in Tokyo, although the yen did get an early lift from the news.
"Initially, some U.S. short-term guys used it as an excuse to test the downside and sell ahead of the long weekend in Tokyo," Ogino said, referring to Monday’s public holiday that will close markets here.
The dollar was slightly lower at 105.34 yen, having dipped as low as 105.05 earlier in the session after scaling a three-week peak of 105.935 yen overnight. It was still on track to gain more than 4 percent for the week against its Japanese counterpart.
The Bank of England on Thursday surprised many investors by leaving interest rates unchanged instead of cutting to reduce the economic impact of Britain’s vote last month to leave the European Union. The pound was up 0.6 percent at $1.3417.
The euro was down 0.1 percent at 117.10 yen but was still up over 5 percent for the week.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.2 percent in early trade, on track to gain more than 4 percent for the week in which it pushed to levels not seen since November.
On Thursday, both the Dow Jones industrial average and the S&P 500 closed at record highs.
Japan’s Nikkei added 0.8 percent, poised for a weekly gain of over 9 percent in a week in which Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for a fresh round of fiscal stimulus after last weekend’s victory for his ruling coalition.
"The amount of outflows from Japan year to date versus the amount of inflows in the last two weeks, it’s been a significant reversal," said Logan Best, vice president of securities trading at INTL FCStone Financial in Orlando.
"We’re talking about billions of dollars being put back to work, in the past week. I’m seeing significant buyers every day," he said. "There’s definitely some hope rekindled in Abenomics."
Oil prices gave up some of their overnight gains in early trading, after rising 2 percent on Thursday as traders covered short positions after data showing weak U.S. fuel demand.
Brent crude futures slipped 0.9 percent to $46.96 a barrel, while U.S. crude fell 0.9 percent to $45.28.