Asian Stocks Close Higher; European Markets Mixed As Dollar, Oil Gain

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Asian markets finished broadly higher today as the weak dollar, optimistic commentary from central banks and a continuing rally in oil prices uplifted market confidence. Most of the indices closed higher except Japan’s Nikkei 225.

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Australia’s ASX All Ordinaries gained 0.25% to 5,239.30 and China’s Shanghai SE Composite Index added 1.73% to 2,955.15. China reported a rise in its home prices at the fastest rate in two years as the demand for housing accelerated in big cities. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng inched up by 0.82% to 20,671.63 while Taiwan’s TSEC 50 Index ended the day 0.87% higher at 8,810.71. Only Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell 1.25% to 16,724.81 today.

However, the mood was mixed in Europe as dollar dollar rose against the euro. The euro has been volatile since the Federal Reserve indicated a slower pace of adoption of rate hikes while the European Central Bank chief economist Peter Praet expressed concern over the steep jump in the European currency following the Fed’s comments.

During an interview, Praet reiterated that the Eurozone has not reached the lower boundary as far as interest rates are concerned. The comment came in contrast to European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi’s statement yesterday, who had ruled out the possibility of any further rate cut.

Oil climbs again

Apart from this, oil prices continued their churn higher after successive days of upticks. England’s FTSE 100 had gained 0.18% while Euronext 100 gained 0.46%. France’s CAC 40 registered a gin of .2% while Germany’s DAX is unchanged. The Swiss Market Index fell .9% during early hours.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Dow Jones Industrial Average managed to recover the losses it registered in 2016 as a weak dollar allowed the gains in commodities to spill into equity markets. The Dow finished the previous day 0.90% higher at 17,481.49 and S&P 500 Index surged 0.66% to 2,040.59.

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