- Apple shares top $159 after strong results
- Asian component makers hoping to share in the glory
- Dollar steadies just above 15-month trough
- Oil retreats as supply concerns return
Asian stocks paused near decade-highs on Wednesday as investors waited to see if strong earnings results from tech bellwether Apple would ripple out to component makers in the region.
Shares in the world’s most valuable company surged 6 percent after hours to a record of more than $159, taking its market capitalization above $829 billion. That should also help carry the Dow through the 22,000 mark when trading resumes.
E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 inched up 0.1 percent in early trade no Wednesday.
The tech giant reported better-than-expected iPhone sales, revenue and earnings per share and signaled its upcoming 10th-anniversary phone is on schedule.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was steady in early trade, having hit its highest since late 2007.
Japan’s Nikkei rose 0.5 percent. Apple suppliers soared, with Murata Manufacturing up 3.2 percent and Taiyo Yuden gaining 3.3 percent.
South Korean stocks edged up 0.2 percent, but Australia’s benchmark fell 0.4 percent.
There was a note of caution over reports U.S. President Donald Trump was close to a decision on how to respond to what he considers China’s unfair trade practices.
Tepid U.S. inflation along with political turmoil in Washington has lessened the risk of another Federal Reserve rate hike this year, lowering bond yields across the globe.
Improving data in other major economies has also served to push the greenback down nearly 11 percent from January peaks, benefiting commodities and emerging markets.
A swathe of manufacturing surveys (PMIs) out on Tuesday underlined how the improvement in activity had broadened out from the United States to Asia and Europe.
Alan Ruskin, head of G10 forex at Deutsche, noted the top five PMIs were all Northern European economies and every index in Europe was in expansionary territory above 50.
“That will do nothing to hurt ebullient global risk appetite,” said Ruskin. “This phase of the risk rally is based on growth data, but even more on subdued inflation measures.”
“The latter plays to a gradual Central Bank exit from extreme policy accommodation that should prolong the global growth cycle.”
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe has scored its longest monthly winning streak in over a decade.
On Wall Street, the Dow ended Tuesday with gains of 0.33 percent, while the S&P 500 added 0.24 percent and the Nasdaq rose 0.23 percent.
In currency markets, the dollar edged away from deep lows though thanks mainly to positioning – bears are already so short of the currency that they are wary of selling even more.
The dollar index steadied at 93.040 after touching 92.777, the lowest since early May 2016. The euro stood at $1.1808 <EUR=,> not far from a 2-1/2-year high of $1.1845 touched on Monday.
The dollar was last up slightly against the yen at 110.43 , having briefly fallen below 110 yen for the first time in more than six weeks.
Oil prices were under pressure again as major world oil producers kept pumping out supply, causing investors to worry that several weeks of steady gains had pushed the rally too far.
Brent crude eased 22 cents to $51.56 a barrel, while U.S. crude lost 26 cents to $48.90 a barrel.