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Thursday 02.00 GMT

What you need to know

  • Asia tech stocks rebound
  • Australian dollar dips on disappointing trade data
  • Oil prices steady
  • Bitcoin scales $14,000

Overview

Asia Pacific equities started Thursday on a positive note and technology stocks bounced back following hefty losses in the previous session.

Hot topic

Japan’s Topix index rose 1 per cent after a 1.4 per cent fall in the previous session. The IT sector ticked 1.5 per cent higher and industrials rose 1.1 per cent. Nintendo and Tokyo Electron jumped 2.4 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.9 per cent after falling 2.1 per cent in the previous session as investors locked in gains. The technology sector jumped 2.6 per cent with Apple supplier AAC Technology and index heavyweight Tencent up 3.9 per cent and 2.5 per cent respectively.

The Hang Seng China Enterprises index of Hong Kong-listed large-cap Chinese stocks rose 1 per cent following a 2.8 per cent fall on Wednesday.

In Sydney the S&P/ASX 200 rose 0.7 per cent as financials gained 0.9 per cent and materials edged up 0.2 per cent.

US equities struggled for direction overnight with the S&P 500 ending the day barely changed at 2,629 as the tech sector sub-index rose 0.9 per cent. The energy sector was off 1.3 per cent on lower oil prices.

Forex

In currencies, the Australian dollar was on the back foot following trade data showing the October trade surplus narrowed to A$105m ($79.2m), well below expectations for a A$1.4bn surplus on lower demand for iron ore and coal. That pushed the Australian dollar to $0.755, a two-week low.

“It’s possible that the total trade surplus will turn into a deficit in the coming months, at least for a short while,” said Paul Dales, chief Australia and New Zealand economist for Capital Economics. “And while it is early days yet, after making a neutral contribution to GDP growth in the third quarter, net exports may be a small drag on GDP growth in the fourth quarter.”

The dollar index, a measure of the greenback against a basket of peers, was flat at 93.55 and the euro was steady at $1.18. The Japanese yen dipped 0.1 per cent to ¥112.42 and the pound weakened to $1.3385.

Fixed income

The yield on the 10-year US Treasury was down 0.7 basis points at 2.344 per cent.

Commodities

Brent oil edged higher to $61.38 a barrel after shedding 2.6 per cent in the previous session and West Texas Intermediate rose 0.3 per cent to $56.10 a barrel. Data released on Wednesday showed Crude stocks fell by a bigger than expected 5.6m barrels last week, although gasoline supplies rose more than forecast.

Bitcoin climbed to a record high of $14,047, crossing the $14,000 threshold for the first time.

Gold was flat at $1,263.51 an ounce.

For market updates and comment follow us on Twitter @FTMarkets

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