Asian shares climb as Korea tensions ease, U.S. data eyed
Asian shares extended gains on Monday as tensions in the Korean Peninsula eased and first-quarter earnings shone, although some investors were cautious about the outlook amid the backdrop of a simmering U.S.-China trade dispute, Reuters reports.
Spread-betters pointed to a strong start for European shares with FTSE futures FFIc1 up 0.2 percent. E-Minis for the S&P 500 ESc1 gained 0.3 percent while Dow futures 1YMc1 added 0.3 percent.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS climbed 1 percent, adding to a similar rise on Friday. The index is now poised for a modest rise this month after two consecutive losses.
South Korea's KOSPI index .KS11 jumped 0.8 percent and is set to end April more than 2.5 percent higher following record profits from tech giant Samsung Electronics (005930.KS) and after a spectacularly successful inter-Korean summit.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng index .HSI climbed 1.6 percent, Australia's benchmark index rose 0.5 percent while New Zealand shares .NZ50 gave up early losses to be up 0.9 percent.
Liquidity was low on Monday with Japan, China and India on holiday and much of Asia closed on Tuesday.
Overall, stocks continue to be supported by strong first quarter corporate earnings. More than half of Wall Street's S&P 500 .SPX companies have reported and 79.4 percent have beaten consensus estimates.
But investors have grown increasingly jittery with the U.S. Federal Reserve signaling faster rate rises this year and the European Central Bank seen likely to end its generous bond-buying program soon.
“The key question for 2018 remains to what extent can the benign environment persist?” said Jacob Mitchell, Chief Investment Officer of Australian investment boutique Antipodes which has A$7 billion in assets under management.
Global shares had a dream run in 2017 helped by the first synchronous world growth in decades coupled with easy monetary policies in most of the developed world.
“We believe the unusually favorable goldilocks combination of accelerating growth and tepid inflation experienced in 2017 will not repeat,” Mitchell added.
“Instead, normalization of interest rate policy will likely upset the rhythm with more volatile and less forgiving markets.”
Indeed, the MSCI Asia ex-Japan index is almost flat so far in 2018 compared with a more than 13 percent jump in the same period last year.