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FINANCE

Asian shares surge; pound jumps as Theresa May secures Brexit concession

Asian-shares-surge-GBO

US stocks recovered overnight and the pound jumped as British Prime Minister Theresa May managed to secure last minute support from the EU for her Brexit deal before it went for a crucial vote

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 1.17%. Asian oil stocks bounced strongly as oil prices continued to recover this week, lifted by comments from Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih that an end to OPEC-led supply cuts was unlikely before June. US crude rose 0.44% to settle at $57.05. International benchmark Brent was up 0.39% to $66.84 a barrel.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 surged more than 2%, with most sectors putting in strong gains. The broader Topix rose 1.88%.

The Shanghai composie jumped 1.61%, while the Shenzhen composite bounced 1.43%. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index traded up 1.41%. Shares of China’s Meituan Dianping, an online food delivery-to-ticketing firm, plunged more than 9%, following results posted a day earlier which showed that its fourth-quarter operating losses more than doubled.

South Korea’s Kospi was also higher by 0.89%.

In Australia, the ASX 200 was up 0.41%. Oil stocks put in a strong showing after losses on Monday, with shares of Santos surging 2.79%, Oil Search giving up some gains to rise 0.51%, and Woodside Petroleum rising 1.12%.

US stocks had rebounded on the back of strong tech gains, after a five-day losing streak on Wall Street. Better-than-expected January US retail sales numbers on Monday also gave a boost to confidence, after a raft of weak December data.

“Markets will be looking for January’s lift to be sustained, with strength in the labour market and rising real wages expected to support consumption,” ANZ Research said in a morning note.

Monday’s moves come after US major indexes posted their worst weekly performances of 2019 amid growing concerns of a possible economic slowdown around the world.

The pound was up 0.5%, buying $1.3215 and taking its gains over two days to more than 1.5%, according to Reuters, following the news on the Brexit deal.

Senior minister David Lidington announced Monday that May had clinched “legally binding” changes to her Brexit deal in her bid to win last minute support.

The dollar index, which tracks the US currency against a basket of six major peers, traded at 97.054, climbing from levels below 97.000 in the previous week.

The Japanese yen fetched 111.40 to the dollar as of 12:01 p.m. HK/SIN, strengthening from levels around 111.70 last week. The Australian dollar traded at $0.7070.

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