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Friday, February 14, 2020, 19:16
Asian shares aim for second week of gains
By Agencies
Friday, February 14, 2020, 19:16 By Agencies

TOKYO - Asian shares inched higher on Friday, on course to post the second straight week of gains.

European shares are expected to rise, with pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 futures up 0.21 percent, German DAX futures adding 0.3 percent and FTSE futures ticking up 0.21 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan ticked up 0.25 percent on Friday for weekly gain of 1.77 percent.

Chinese stocks closed higher, with the benchmark Shanghai Composite Index up 0.38 percent, at 2,917.01 points.

Japan’s Nikkei dropped 0.59 percent, not helped by the news of first coronavirus death and signs of a potential rise in domestic infections in the country.

On Wall Street on Thursday, the S&P 500 lost 0.16 percent but its futures gained 0.23 percent in subsequent Asian trade to hit record levels.

The dollar’s index against a basket of currencies hit a four-month high, having risen 1.8 percent so far this month.

The euro fell to as low as US$1.0827, its lowest level in almost three years, and last stood at US$1.0836.

It also hit a nine-week low against the British pound and 4-1/2 year low against the Swiss franc.

The euro has been bruised also by rising political uncertainties in Germany as well as worries about sluggish growth in the region.

The pound traded at US$1.3045, after 0.65 percent gains on Thursday.

The 10-year gilts yield jumped to a three-week high of 0.660 percent, bucking falling yields in most other major bond markets.

The yen stayed in a familiar range in the past couple of weeks and last traded at 109.80 yen.

US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 0.12 percent at US$51.48 per barrel in early Friday trade but up 2.3 percent on the week, on course to post their first weekly gains in six weeks.

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