Asian stocks inch to 18 months high, pound slips

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Asia’s stock rose on Tuesday as trade deal optimism, positive economic signals in China and Wall Street’s rally sent shares to an 18-month high, while familiar Brexit worries knocked sterling.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS rose 1% to its highest since June 2018. Japan’s Nikkei .N225 touched its firmest in more than year, while markets from Shanghai .CSI300 to Seoul .KS11 and Hong Kong .HSI all rose by more than a percentage point.

Oil hovered near three-month highs in anticipation of growing demand from the world’s biggest economies. [O/R]

Yet with no fresh news on the trade front, the euphoria did not extend into the debt or currency markets, where movements were slight.

Futures also pointed to a flat open in Europe and a steady start to Tuesday in New York. FDXc1 ESc1 FTSE futures FFIc1 were down 0.3%.

“People are looking to close the year on a good note,” said Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank in Singapore.

“I think that these are far more opportunistic than they are conviction trades, so they tend to be a little bit more prone to taking profits,” he added.

The preliminary deal between Washington and Beijing reached last week will double U.S. exports to China, White House adviser Larry Kudlow told Fox News on Monday.

The United States will also reduce some tariffs on Chinese goods under the agreement.

Peace PIAK