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Indian Morning Briefing : Asian Markets Broadly Higher

DJIA         35950.56   196.67   0.55% 
Nasdaq       15653.37   131.48   0.85% 
S&P 500       4725.79    29.23   0.62% 
FTSE 100      7373.34    31.68   0.43% 
Nikkei Stock 28826.65    28.28   0.10% 
Hang Seng    23218.75    25.11   0.11% 
Kospi         3012.50    14.33   0.48% 
SGX Nifty*   17149.50    77.5    0.45% 
*Dec contract 
USD/JPY 114.37-38   -0.03% 
Range   114.51   114.33 
EUR/USD 1.1326-29   -0.01% 
Range   1.1333   1.1323 
CBOT Wheat March $8.146 per bushel 
Spot Gold   $1,809.40/oz  0.1% 
Nymex Crude (NY) $73.90  $1.14 

U.S. stock indexes closed higher in the holiday-shortened trading week, with the S&P 500 notching a new high, as investors digested economic data and developments related to the Omicron variant’s spread.

The S&P 500 was up 0.6%, or 29.23 points, at 4725.79, its 68th record close in 2021. Thursday’s rise, its third consecutive daily increase, followed a Wednesday session during which strong economic data helped ease investors’ concerns about the risks posed by Covid-19 and inflation. The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite rose 0.85%, or 131.48 points, to 15653.37. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.55%, or 196.67 points, to 35950.56.


Japan’s Nikkei Stock Average was up 0.1% at 28837.02, led by gains in electronics and e-commerce stocks, as the yen weakened to a one-month low. USD/JPY rose to 114.50, the highest level since Nov. 26, driven by the prospects of the Fed’s policy tightening next year, compared with 114.18 as of Thursday’s Tokyo stock market close. Investors remained focused on any Covid-19-related updates, including drug development.

South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.8% to 3023.38, tracking Wall Street gains overnight. The severity of the Omicron variant’s situation seemed to be lessening, providing a source of optimism, while the U.S. economic recovery remained on track, IG said.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index rose 0.4% to 23280.00, led by casino operators. With the Christmas holiday approaching, market turnover could continue to shrink and the HSI’s trading range might be narrow today, KGI Research said. The Hang Seng TECH Index was 0.5% higher at 5668.74.

Chinese shares were lower in early trade amid declines by travel-related companies after the country locked down the city of Xian to combat a Covid-19 outbreak there. Other decliners include coal companies. The Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.4% to 3628.90, the Shenzhen Composite Index declined 0.9% to 2501.54 and the ChiNext Price Index was 1.6% lower at 3319.58.


Asian currencies consolidated against USD in somewhat thin trading ahead of Christmas holiday weekend. As the holidays approach and liquidity dries up, consolidation will be the theme in currency markets, TD Securities said. With recent Fed speak indicating that March is “live,” however, the brokerage continues to think risk-reward favors respecting that outcome, and hence, supporting USD firmness in 2022. USD/KRW rose 0.2% to 1,187.55 while USD/SGD was little changed at 1.3583 and AUD/USD fell 0.2% to 0.7233.


Gold edged higher in the Asian morning session and may have a bright outlook next year. The precious metal was expected to have a strong 2022, as risks to the outlook remain elevated, Oanda said. This would probably result in more policy easing from Beijing, the Fed taking a dovish stance on rate increases in the summer and a weakening USD as investors bet on Europe’s growth potential, Oanda added. Spot gold was up 0.1% at $1,809.40/oz.


The Brent crude price was weighed by the continued spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 in Europe at a time when Chinese growth is also slowing, UOB said. Given the uncertainty over Omicron’s negative impact on global energy demand, the Singapore bank downgraded its Brent crude oil outlook from to neutral from positive. It forecast Brent prices to average $70/bbl for 1H of 2022 and $75/bbl for 2H of 2022. Front-month Brent was 0.3% lower at $76.62/bbl. WTI contracts weren’t trading due to a holiday.

New U.K. Study Reinforces Conclusion That Omicron Causes Less Severe Disease 
Covid-19 Marches Toward Endemic Status in U.S. as Omicron Spreads 
U.S. Will Waive In-Person Interviews for H-1B, Other Work Visas 
CK Asset to Sell Aircraft-Leasing Business for $4.28 Billion 
HSBC to Buy India Mutual Fund Business for $425 Million 
Bank of Korea to 'Appropriately' Adjust Monetary Accommodation in 2022 
United, Delta Cancel Some Flights, as Omicron Spreads 
Tesla to Restrict In-Car Gaming Following Federal Probe 
Amazon Reaches Federal Settlement Allowing Workers More Leeway to Organize 
FDA Authorizes Merck's Covid-19 Pill for At-Home Treatment 
Quidel Reaches Deal to Buy Ortho Clinical for $24.68 a Share 
Intel Apologizes After Asking Suppliers to Avoid China's Xinjiang Region 
AMP to Sell Infrastructure Debt Platform to Ares Management Corp 
U.S., Russia Move Closer to Talks Over Ukraine as Moscow Amasses Troops 
Saudis Begin Making Ballistic Missiles With Chinese Help 
U.N. Plans $8 Billion Fund to Restart Afghanistan's Economy 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

12-23-21 2215ET

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