Asian Shares Rise On US Fiscal Hopes

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Asian shares edged up Thursday, mirroring U.S. and European stock rises overnight, as sentiment improved after U.S. House Speaker John Boehner said he was "optimistic" on reaching a budget deal.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.2 percent, after easing 0.3 percent on Wednesday ending a seven-day winning streak, Reuters reported.

Japan's Nikkei opened 0.7 percent higher, and South Korean shares opened up 0.5 percent. Australian shares inched up 0.3 percent, supported by banks, but big resource stocks were mixed.

U.S. equities jumped overnight after Boehner voiced optimism that Republicans could broker a deal with the White House to avoid year-end austerity measures. President Barack Obama later said he hoped an agreement can be reached before Christmas to avoid the "fiscal cliff."

"Global stocks have recently tended to focus on one issue, which is the U.S. fiscal cliff," Cho Byung-hyun, an analyst at Tong Yang Securities, told Reuters.

The euro was steady around $1.2950 after peaking at $1.3010 Tuesday, its highest level since Oct. 31, on news of a deal on Greece's debt. The dollar was up 0.1 percent to 82.14 yen.

U.S. crude futures rose 0.2 percent to $86.62 a barrel. Spot gold was up 0.2 percent to $1,722.11 an ounce after slumping 1.5 percent on Wednesday for its biggest one-day drop in nearly a month when deflation fears triggered a heavy bout of stop-loss orders from momentum-driven fund investors.

 

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