Dow soars to a record close overnight, Standard Chartered earnings ahead


SINGAPORE — Stocks in Asia-Pacific rose in Thursday morning trade after the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged to a record closing high overnight.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 jumped 1.53% in early trading as shares of conglomerate Softbank Group surged more than 3%. The Topix index also gained 1.21%.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 1.61% as shares of chipmaker SK Hynix soared more than 3%. The S&P/ASX 200 in Australia gained 0.94%.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan traded 0.5% higher.

On the earnings front, Standard Chartered is expected to report its 2020 earnings around 12:15 p.m. HK/SIN on Thursday. On Tuesday, HSBC reported full-year earnings that beat expectations and announced a dividend payout for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Overnight stateside, the Dow jumped 424.51 points to a record closing high of 31,961.86. The S&P 500 gained 1.1% to finish its trading day at 3,925.40 while the Nasdaq Composite closed about 1% higher at 13,597.97.

The moves on Wall Street came as U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell continued to downplay the threat of inflation, saying it could take three years to reach the central bank’s target consistently.

In Wednesday’s testimony in front of the House Financial Services Committee, Powell said inflation could be volatile as the economy reopens and there’s increased demand. Still, the Fed chair does not expect inflation to run hot and said the central bank has tools to combat it if it should.

Currencies

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 90.176— still weaker than levels above 90.8 seen last week.

The Japanese yen traded at 105.92 per dollar, having weakened from levels below 105.6 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.7972, stronger then levels below $0.784 seen last week.

— CNBC’s Yun Li contributed to this report.

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