Asian shares crept higher on Thursday as upbeat bank earnings bolstered Wall Street, while an anti-climactic end to the latest chapter in the Brexit saga gave sterling a moment`s peace.
MSCI`s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> edged up 0.1 percent, with Australia <.axjo> and South Korea`s KOSPI <.ks11> ahead by 0.2 percent each.
Japan`s Nikkei <.n225> climbed 0.3 percent.
However, E-Mini futures for the S&P 500
On Wall Street, strong earnings from Bank of America
The Dow <.dji> ended Wednesday with gains of 0.59 percent, while the S&P 500 <.spx> added 0.22 percent and the Nasdaq <.ixic> 0.15 percent.[.N]
Investors in Asia might be less encouraged by a Wall Street Journal report that U.S. federal prosecutors were investigating Huawei Technologies, the world`s largest telecommunications equipment maker, for allegedly stealing trade secrets from U.S. businesses and could soon issue an indictment.
Such a move could inflame tensions between Beijing and Washington and make a trade deal yet harder.
China`s central bank on Wednesday moved to avert a cash crunch in the economy by injecting a record $83 billion into the country`s financial system.
Also looming in the background were concerns the U.S. government shutdown was starting to take a toll on its economy.
White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett said the shutdown would shave 0.13 percent off quarterly economic growth for each week it goes on. PLAN B
As expected, British Prime Minister Theresa May narrowly won a confidence vote overnight and invited other party leaders for talks to try to break the impasse on a Brexit divorce deal.
An outline for Plan `B` is due by Monday and the market assumes there will have to be an extension of the Article 50 exit date past March 29.
"Nothing has happened in the last 24 hours to dissuade us from the view that we are headed in the direction of an Article 50 delay, a softer Brexit or no Brexit," said Ray Attrill, head of FX strategy at NAB.
"But it remains too soon to be buying sterling with your ears pinned back," he added, noting many uncertainties remained.
All of which left the pound firm at $1.2877
The lessening of Brexit risk pressured the safe-haven yen and helped the U.S. dollar up to 109
In commodity markets, palladium
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)
Get Latest Business News, Stock Market Updates and Videos; Check your tax outgo through Income Tax Calculator and save money through our Personal Finance coverage. Check Business Breaking News Live on Zee Business Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe on YouTube.