The dollar hoarded hefty gains on Wednesday after strong U.S. retail data put a Federal Reserve rate hike back on the agenda, while Asia stocks inched ahead as tensions over North Korea simmered down little.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has delayed a decision on firing missiles towards Guam while he waits to see what the United States does, as Washington said any dialogue was up to Kim.
The break in threat and counter-threat was enough for South Korean stocks <.ks11> to bounce 0.7 percent, though they remain well short of the record peak touched last month.
MSCI`s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan <.miapj0000pus> edged up 0.2 percent while Japan`s Nikkei <.n225> dithered either side of flat.
There was no clear lead from Wall Street, where the Dow <.dji> had ended Tuesday up a tiny 0.02 percent. The S&P 500 <.spx> lost 0.05 percent and the Nasdaq <.ixic> 0.11 percent.
The economic news, however, was much more emphatic with U.S. retail sales rising the most in seven months in July as consumers spent more on 10 of 13 retail sectors.
Importantly, upward revisions to sales for both May and June countered concerns that consumption had entered a downtrend and lifted the outlook for economic growth.
Investors reacted by narrowing odds on the Fed tightening again this year and sent two-year Treasury yields
"The early Q3 data has served as a reminder that the U.S. expansion is robust," said ANZ economist Daniel Gradwell.
"The majority of the Fed are of the view that as long as that remains the case, underlying inflation pressures will gradually intensify and policy normalisation is appropriate."BITCOIN BONANZA
The dollar duly rallied to its highest level against a basket of major currencies in nearly three weeks and was last holding at 93.819 <.dxy>.
The yen took an added blow from the easing in risk aversion and sagged to 110.54 per dollar
Sterling also slumped after UK inflation numbers came in below forecast, breaching key support levels against both the euro and dollar. The pound was last at $1.2863
All that action paled in comparison to the digital currency Bitcoin, which has surged over $1,200 so far this month to reach $4,150
"Interest in digital currencies has spiked recently as proponents tout benefits such as a lack of centralised control and limited supply," said William O`Loughlin, an investment analyst at Rivkin Securities.
"However, anyone thinking of buying the currency should realise that it is incredibly volatile and could fall in value as quickly as it rose."
In commodity markets, the revival in risk appetite dragged gold back to $1,272.68 an ounce
Oil prices nudged higher after data from the American Petroleum Institute showed a much larger fall in crude inventories than expected. [O/R]
(This article has not been edited by Zeebiz editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)