Asian shares at highest since early March, weak dollar boosts commodities

Chinese blue chips rose 0.30% and Korea gained 0.38%

  
A security guard stands at the Shanghai Stock Exchange building at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, February 3, 2020.

A security guard stands at the Shanghai Stock Exchange building at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai, China, as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus, February 3, 2020.

REUTERS/Aly Song

HONG KONG - Asian shares hit a six-and-a-half week top on Tuesday, shaking off an initial drag from tech-driven Wall Street losses, while the dollar stayed at multi-week lows against most other major currencies in a boost for commodities.

Chinese blue chips rose 0.30% and Korea gained 0.38%, helping MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan to add 0.26% and reach its highest since early March.

E-mini futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.23%, but Euro Stoxx 50 futures fell 0.13% and FTSE futures were down 0.07%, suggesting a more cautious European open.

"It is a Goldilocks scenario for Asia in the sense that you've got expectations of double digit earnings growth, and valuations which look attractive relative to the U.S. equity market and even the MSCI world index ," said Andrew Gillan head of Asia ex Japan equities at Janus Henderson Investors.

However, Asian valuations are fair rather than cheap relative to their historical levels, Gillan noted.

Japan bucked the trend in Asia as the Nikkei fell 2.13% on worries that the possible reintroduction of COVID-19 emergency measures in the country's biggest cities would slow the economic recovery. 

In currency markets, the dollar continued its recent weakness, falling further from six-week lows it hit on Monday.

The risk friendly Aussie rose as much as 0.6% against the greenback to reach a one-month high, partly due to upbeat remarks from Australian central bank.

The euro gained 0.24%.

"In our view, USD can remain heavy this week as focus shifts from U.S. economic outperformance to the improving global economic outlook more broadly," analysts at CBA wrote in a research note.

The weak dollar helped push up commodity prices.

U.S. crude and Brent both gained about 1%, while three-month London copper traded just shy of its highest level since August 2011. 

Spot gold rose 0.17% to 1,771.37 per ounce. 

Earlier, major Wall Street indexes drew back from record highs hit list week, dragged by shares of Tesla Inc.

The electric-car maker slid 3.4% after a vehicle believed to be operating without anyone in the driver's seat crashed into a tree on Saturday north of Houston, killing two occupants. 

The tech-heavy Nasdaq was the biggest mover, falling 0.98%, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 0.36%, and the S&P 500 0.53%. 

The yield on benchmark 10-year Treasury notes rose to 1.6119% compared with its U.S. close of 1.599%.

(Editing by Sam Holmes and Himani Sarkar) ((Alun.John@thomsonreuters.com; +852-28415827;))

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