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Asia Stocks Build on Rally; Hong Kong Dollar Jumps: Markets Wrap — Stocks in Asia are set to cap the strongest two-week rally since February as investors take in evidence that escalating trade tensions have yet to hurt global growth and China’s moves to support its expansion.

With the world’s expansion intact — as shown in strong Japanese and Korean export figures this week — the narrative of central banks paring back liquidity remains. The Bank of Japan cut its purchases of super-long bonds at an operation Friday, and Hong Kong’s dollar surged the most since 2003, thanks in part to the prospect for higher interest rates there. Japan’s Topix Index closed at the highest since May, and shares climbed from Seoul to Shanghai. Ten-year U.S. yields are holding above 3 percent, though that’s not helping the dollar, which is approaching levels against the yen not seen since January.

The jump in the Hong Kong dollar against the greenback left heads scratching Friday, with the pegged-currency’s move lacking any obvious immediate trigger. Analysts cited a catalog of explanations, from stop losses and upcoming holidays to expectations for higher rates, given that the city boosts borrowing costs in lockstep with the Federal Reserve, which is projected to tighten again next week.

Also buoying risk appetite this week has been a rally in emerging market assets from stocks to currencies, with some investors deciding the recent sell-off left valuations too juicy to ignore. For example, Goldman Sachs Asset Management said this week its buying Turkish and Argentinian government debt.

“Fundamentals in many places are very strong, particularly the U.S.,” Grant Forster, Principal Global Investors’s chief executive officer for Australia, told Bloomberg TV in Sydney. “We don’t expect this to really derail U.S. growth at all,” he said, referring to the trade dispute.

China’s stocks are having their best week since June, though the Shanghai Composite remains in bear-market territory. Premier Li Keqiang this week pledged tax cuts and help for smaller companies to support growth, and the country’s planning agency indicated it would strengthen infrastructure plans.

In Japan, news that the BOJ is trimming purchases of debt maturing in more than 25 years helped boost 20-year and 30-year government bond yields. While the BOJ kept its stimulus policy unchanged earlier this week, the move adds to signs that the easy-money era is ending. Norway’s central bank Thursday hiked rates for the first time in seven years.

The Australian dollar was steady after S&P Global Ratings bumped its outlook for the country’s AAA debt rating to stable from negative. West Texas crude dipped toward $70 a barrel as U.S. President Donald Trump resumed his criticism of OPEC on Twitter. The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies are due to meet in Algiers this weekend.

Meantime, Friday’s U.S. equity session could be lively, with traders bracing for quadruple witching — when futures and options on indexes and individual stocks expire — and the largest revision to the Global Industry Classification Standard since 1999. More on that here.

Asia Stocks Build on Rally; Hong Kong Dollar Jumps: Markets Wrap

U.K. August Retail Sales Unexpectedly Gain in Summer Heatwave — U.K. retail sales unexpectedly increased last month as the warmest summer on record encouraged shoppers to splash out.

Sales rose 0.3 percent from July, compared with a median estimate of a 0.2 percent decline in a Bloomberg survey. Figures for the previous month were also revised up, according to data from the Office for National Statistics in London.

The increase was led by household goods such as furniture and electrical items. Sales of food and clothing fell on the month after strong gains in July. Excluding auto fuel, sales also rose 0.3 percent.

The pound extended gains after the report and traded 0.4 percent higher at $1.3193 as of 9:35 a.m. in London.

The warm weather helped overall retail sales climb and annual 3.4 percent in the June to August period, compared with just a 2.1 percent gain last year, the ONS said. Stores also may have pushed discounts harder than in previous years. […]

U.K. August Retail Sales Unexpectedly Gain in Summer Heatwave

New Zealand Economy Grew More Than Forecast in Second Quarter — New Zealand’s economy grew at the fastest pace in two years in the second quarter, prompting markets to pare bets on an interest-rate cut. The currency rose to a three-week high.

While growth exceeded the Reserve Bank’s 0.5 percent forecast, the central bank may still keep the option of a rate cut on the table amid a slump in business confidence that could damp activity in the medium term. The RBNZ has said it’s closely watching developments in the current quarter, when it wants to see evidence that fiscal stimulus is boosting growth. […]

New Zealand Economy Grew More Than Forecast in Second Quarter

Stocks in Asia Meander as Treasury Yields Hug 3%: Markets Wrap — A rally in Asian stocks weakened on Thursday as rising U.S. Treasury yields threatened to pose a fresh test for equity investors. The dollar maintained declines against most major peers and oil extended gains.

With little in the way of new leads for equity traders to latch on to and tariff concerns set aside, Japan’s stocks shuffled into a three-month high for a second day. South Korea outperformed and Hong Kong and Chinese stocks drifted in a lackluster session. European futures tipped a muted open. The yield on 10-year Treasuries remained above the much-watched 3 percent mark after approaching its highs for the year. The yen edged higher and oil held above $71 a barrel on declining stockpiles.

Equity markets have so far remained resilient in the face of rising bond yields, suggesting investors are comfortable with the outlook for global growth even as borrowing costs rise along with trade tensions. The 10-year Treasury yield is up about 10 basis points over the past week.

Money market funds are getting more attractive, though, raising the bar for further allocation to riskier assets — read about that here.

The dollar remained under pressure after a report said the U.S. and Canada are unlikely to reach a deal on Nafta in Washington this week. There was little reaction in the yuan after China said it planned to cut the average tariff rate that it charges on imports from the majority of its trading partners as soon as next month. Emerging-market assets continued to rally off the lows seen earlier this month as some investors suggested the rout was overdone.

Elsewhere, the New Zealand dollar rose as economic growth topped estimates.

Stocks in Asia Meander as Treasury Yields Hug 3%: Markets Wrap

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Currency pairsMetalsRaw materialsCrypto
EURUSD1.2286525.1 (0.20%) 1.8
GBPUSD1.4028253.0 (0.38%) 2.5
USDCAD1.2903215.8 (0.12%) 2.6
USDCHF0.957309.3 (0.10%) 2.3
USDJPY106.33742.9 (0.40%) 1.8
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AUD/USD 24 September 2018 00:01 24 September 2018 18:00 Sell 0.7270-50 0.7300-20 0.7220-00
USD/CAD 24 September 2018 00:01 24 September 2018 18:00 Sell 1.2900-1.2880 1.2920-40 1.2850-30
#KO 24 September 2018 00:01 24 September 2018 18:00 Buy 45.00-46.00 45.00-44.50 47.00-48.00 - 1.10
EUR/CHF 21 September 2018 00:01 21 September 2018 18:00 Sell 1.1280-70 1.1300-10 1.1220
USD/CAD 20 September 2018 00:01 20 September 2018 18:00 Sell 1.2980-70 1.3020-1.3040 1.2900
EUR/GBP 20 September 2018 00:01 20 September 2018 18:00 Sell 0.8900-0.8890 0.8930-0.8960 0.8850
#C 20 September 2018 00:01 20 September 2018 18:00 Buy 71.00-73.00 70.00-68.00 74.50
EUR/CHF 18 September 2018 00:01 18 September 2018 18:00 Sell 1.1270-50 1.1300-30 1.1240
ETH/USD 13 September 2018 00:01 13 September 2018 18:00 Sell 205-200.000 205-200.000 160.000
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* Ester Holdings Inc. does not bear responsibility for the results of trade decisions, adopted using trading signals of independent analysts. All signals are informative.

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