Asian shares lifted to 10-year high after Wall Street's record finishes

A quotation board (top, left) flashes the foreign exchange rate against the US dollar (top) and the Nikkei 225 key index of the Tokyo Stock Exchange (bottom) at a foreign exchange brokerage in Tokyo on Aug 29, 2017, after a missile was launched by North Korea earlier in the day. PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Asian shares inched up to a 10-year high on Wednesday (Sept 13), cheered by record highs on Wall Street, while the US dollar's rise against the yen helped boost Japanese shares.

The S&P 500, Dow Jones industrials and Nasdaq Composite all marked record finishes as investors' concerns faded about North Korean tensions as well as the impact of Hurricane Irma.

Gains were kept in check, however, by a decline in shares of Apple Inc after it unveiled its newest line of iPhones. Apple fell 0.6 per cent but pared some losses in afterhours trade.

The new iPhone's sales will have repercussions beyond Apple for many suppliers as well as its rivals.

MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was slightly higher in early trade, while Japan's Nikkei stock index added 0.4 per cent to a one-month high, getting a tailwind from a weaker yen.

"The Nikkei is not rising on fundamentals at the moment, but rather on supply and demand moves, as the weaker yen prompts investors to cover short positions" that they took during recent bouts of risk aversion, said Yutaka Miura, a senior technical analyst at Mizuho Securities.

"Lately, we have seen some reactive moves in early trading, and then stabilization or even profit-taking later in the session, and today might be the same," Miura said.

The dollar was steady on the day at 110.06 yen, well above last Friday's 10-month low of 107.32 plumbed when Hurricane Irma loomed and investors braced for the possibility of another missile or nuclear test to mark North Korea's founding day on Sept. 9.

The yen tends to benefit during times of economic and political uncertainty due to Japan's net creditor nation status, and the expectation that Japanese investors would repatriate assets during times of crisis.

The euro was up 0.1 per cent at US$1.1973, while the dollar index was steady at 91.860, well above Friday's 2½-year low of 91.011.

Crude oil futures were mixed after rising on Tuesday, when Opec forecast higher demand in 2018 and Russia and Venezuela confirmed their commitment to a production-cutting deal to reduce the global crude glut.

Brent crude edged down 0.1 per cent to US$54.21 per barrel, while US crude added 0.2 per cent to US$48.30.

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