Asian Equities Firmer Just Ahead of RBA

The U.S. dollar hovered close to an 11-year high against a basket of currencies while Asian shares firmed in early trade on Tuesday, with sentiment bolstered by another record day on Wall Street.  MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS was nearly flat, while Japan’s Nikkei stock average .N225 was up about 0.4 percent after the yen pushed to three-week lows against the greenback.

On Wall Street on Monday, the Dow Jones industrial average .DJI and the S&P 500 .SPX both posted fresh record closing highs, while the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC broke 5,000 for the first time in 15 years.  The dollar index .DXY climbed as far as 95.514 on Monday, surpassing Jan. 23’s high of 95.481 to a peak not scaled since September 2003.

The index rose as the euro slid back below $1.1200 EUR=. The common currency last stood at $1.1177, down about 0.1 percent, while the dollar edged up about 0.1 percent against the yen on the day to 120.19 JPY= after touching a fresh three-week high of 120.27.  The dollar’s gains came in spite of a batch of downbeat U.S. data, including another fall in U.S. consumer spending and slower factory activity.


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