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Asian shares edge up with US tax bill in focus

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Written by Syndicated News

TOKYO, Dec 1 2017 : Asian shares pushed higher today, cheered by Wall Street gains after apparent progress on U.S. tax legislation as investors waited for the Senate’s vote, while higher U.S. Treasury yields underpinned the dollar.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.1 percent. For the week, it was 2.6 percent lower.

Japan’s Nikkei stock index .N225 was up 0.8 percent in early trade, on track to gain 1.6 percent for the week.

“The Nikkei got a lift from the stronger dollar, while the market’s main focus is now whether the tax bill will pass or not,” said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities in Tokyo.

Chances of passage of a Senate tax bill rose with the endorsement of Senator John McCain, as that branch of Congress moved toward a decisive vote. The House approved its own tax bill on Nov. 16.

News of McCain’s endorsement pushed up U.S. Treasury yields to five-week highs, which underpinned the recently beleaguered dollar.

The 10-year Treasury yield stood at 2.415 percent in early Asian trade, steady from its U.S. close yesterday, and above Wednesday’s U.S. close of 2.322 percent.

The dollar was steady on the day 112.54 yen JPY= after touching 112.690 earlier, its highest since Nov. 21, moving away from a 10-week low of 110.85 yen touched on Monday.

The euro was also steady at $1.1908 EUR=, below a two-month peak of $1.1961 scaled on Monday.

Bitcoin BTC=BTSP was up 1.1 percent at $10,042, moving away from the previous session’s low of $9,000, and well shy of this week’s record high of $11,395.

Crude oil futures edged down but held on to most of their gains made yesterday after OPEC and non-OPEC producers led by Russia agreed to extend output cuts until the end of 2018, while also signaling a possible early exit from the deal if the market overheats.

U.S. crude futures were down 3 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $57.37 a barrel. For November, U.S. crude added 5.5 percent. – Reuters

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