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Tokyo — Asian stock markets were on course for their best week in months and the dollar held off recent record highs after the European Central Bank (ECB) raised rates for the first time in more than a decade and bets on the size of US rate hikes eased.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.24% on Friday and was on course to make gains for a seventh successive day. It is likely to be the index’s best week since March.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 0.03%, but the index is still set for its best week in about two months.
The euro was trading at $1.019 and on course for its biggest weekly rise against the dollar since late May, after having dipped below parity last week.
The ECB raised interest rates by a bigger-than-expected 50 basis points to zero percent overnight, its first hike in 11 years and ending a policy of negative interest rates that had been in place since 2014.
“While the ECB was never going to move by more than 50 bps — as we have seen from many other central banks — the 50 bps lift still came as a surprise to many,” said Susan Kilsby, an economist at ANZ, in a note. “But tightening rates quickly has now become the norm.”
Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.14%, extending gains made the previous day after China’s cybersecurity regulator fined Didi Global $1.2bn, potentially signalling an end to the regulatory crackdown and clearing a path for the ride-hailing giant to list in Hong Kong.
Tech companies are likely to weigh on US stocks on Friday, with Nasdaq futures down 0.68% after Snap’s poor earnings release sounded the alarm among investors.
Snap’s accompanying warning of the effect of an economic slowdown on internet companies caused the share price to plummet nearly 27% in after-hours trade. Twitter will release its earnings later today.
Leading cryptocurrency bitcoin was down 0.48% at $23,017.15 on Friday but is up more than 10% on the week, which would be its best result since March.
Oil prices rose Friday and looked set for their first weekly gain in more than a month. Brent crude futures were up 1.53% to $105.45 a barrel, and US WTI crude futures rose 1.45% to $97.75.
The US Federal Reserve meets to set interest rates next week and expectations of a 100 bps hike have faded in favour of pricing for a 75 bps move.
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Published by Arena Holdings and distributed with the Financial Mail on the last Thursday of every month except December and January.