Published: Sat, March 18, 2017
Finance | By Laverne Griffith

Tokyo: Stocks hit 15-month high on yen weakness

Tokyo: Stocks hit 15-month high on yen weakness

Strong data out of China this week have sparked a fresh rally in Hong Kong stocks .HSI , while Indian shares climbed to a record high on Tuesday as investors saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi's landslide victory in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh as endorsing his economic reform agenda.

Most stock markets in Asia started the week on a high - tracking all three main Wall Street indexes - after the Labor Department said the economy created 235,000 new jobs in February, much more than estimated.

Financial stocks languished as US yields fell after the Fed raised interest rates for the second time in three months, but did not flag any plans to accelerate the pace of monetary tightening. Most investors expect it to raise rates for only the third time since they went to almost zero during the financial crisis in 2008.

The MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was down 0.1 percent after posting its second-biggest daily gain this year in the previous session. The Standard & Poor's 500 index was steady at 2,373.47 and the Dow Jones industrial average ticked 0.1 percent lower, to 20,881.48. Analysts said a rate hike, only the Fed's third in a decade, is already priced into financial markets and investors will be looking to see what Fed chief Janet Yellen will be saying about the pace of future increases.

UK's parliament poised for final vote on Brexit bill
The news comes as the Brexit Bill officially enters the statute books, with the Queen due to grant Royal Assent later. He also criticised Labour, saying they "sat on their hands" when they could have been blocking May's hard Brexit .

Official Mass Effect: Andromeda Launch Trailer Rockets In
Bioware has announced that a Day One patch for the game may be rolled out ahead of launch, which is about two weeks away. According to Alec Ryder , the Kett are "visitors", which implies they might not be from the Andromeda galaxy.

Cheltenham Festival Results and Day Four Preview
Former Grand National winning jockey Robbie Power rode Sizing John and was quick to praise the Irish horse's trainer. It means more than any victor I've ridden for Jessica. "I don't know when I'll come down to earth.

Friday's U.S. jobs report came in well above forecasts, reinforcing expectations for a United States interest rate hike this week, and followed by several more later in the year. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2 percent to 5,799.60 and India's Sensex was up 0.3 percent at 29,683.29. The Netherlands has its own election this week, where politicians have also railed against the European Union and immigrants.

OIL: Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 2 cents to $48.42 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The euro rose to $1.0633 from $1.0605.

In Singapore, gains were led by oil rig builder Keppel Corp as global oil prices rose, and on a weaker dollar, which makes greenback-denominated oil less expensive for holders of other currencies.

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