- Asian shares falter from 1-1/2-month highs, markets wary about China data
- China posts strongest export growth in seven years in 2018 despite trade war
- CEO of California utility PG&E steps down as company faces potential wildfire liabilities
- CapitaLand leads Singapore REIT consolidation with $4.4 billion purchase from Temasek
- China's 2018 trade surplus with the US was the highest in more than a decade
Stocks in Asia were higher in the morning after a stateside rally saw the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 record their best post-midterm elections rally since 1982.
In Australia, the ASX 200 was 0.35 percent higher in morning trade, with most sectors seeing gains as energy stocks advanced 0.77 percent.
Shares of the largest gas pipeline company Down Under, APA Group, bucked the overall positive trend and fell more than 9 percent after the country’s treasurer, Josh Frydenberg, announced his intention on Wednesday to block a takeover bid by Hong Kong’s CK Infrastructure.
China’s markets, which are set to open at 9:30 a.m. HK/SIN, will be closely watched by investors following the U.S. midterm election results — even though experts predicted the outcome would have little impact on the two countries’ ongoing trade war.
On the data front, China’s October import and export data is tentatively set for release sometime during the day. The mainland Chinese stock indexes saw losses in the previous session.
Overnight on Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped more than 545 points to close at 26,180.30 while the S&P 500 gained around 2.12 percent to finish the trading day at 2,813.89. The Nasdaq Composite also advanced 2.64 percent at about 7,570.75.
The major averages had earlier hit their session highs after U.S. President Donald Trump indicated he is willing to work with Democrats on policy initiatives that would help the economy keep growing.
Democrats won control of the House of Representatives while Republicans retained their hold on the Senate, as the U.S. midterm election’s outcome split Congress.
Investors expect Trump’s pro-business policies to continue, while some expressed optimism about Congress providing a larger check on Trump’s more disruptive market actions. Historically, equity markets see strong returns when Congress is divided.
“With trade tensions to the fore over recent months and risk currencies in the spotlight, the US Mid-Terms were being seen through the prism of whether the outcome might embolden the President to go harder on trade or in effect if the elections would clip his wings,” David de Garis, a director and senior economist at National Australia Bank, said in a morning note.
“With the Democrats gaining control over the House, the latter scenario now might be a little more likely,” de Garis said.
The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 95.997 after yesterday’s rally from the 95.7 handle.
The Japanese yen was at 113.62 against the dollar after weakening from levels around 113 in the previous session while the Australian dollar traded at $0.7273 following gains from around the $0.722 handle yesterday.
Oil prices slipped overnight, but were basically treading water in the current session. U.S. crude futures were slightly higher at $61.7 per barrel after seeing their lowest closing price since mid-March on Wednesday. The global benchmark Brent crude futures firmed at $72.07 per barrel.
The moves in the oil markets came on the back of U.S. oil production jumping to a record 11.6 million barrels a day in the previous week — with crude output stateside now surpassing Russia and Saudi Arabia.
— CNBC’s Fred Imbert, along with Reuters, contributed to this report.