Asia markets extend gains after dovish Yellen comments – CNBC

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On the currency front, the dollar continued to weaken in the wake of Yellen’s relatively dovish comments, which assuaged concerns about the possibility of an April interest rate hike. Prior to Yellen’s remarks, other Fed members had made more hawkish statements.

The U.S. dollar index, which measures the strength of the dollar against a basket of currencies, recovered slightly to trade at 94.954 as of 9:40 a.m. HK/SIN time, compared with 94.841 overnight. On Tuesday, it finished at 95.160.

The Australian dollar traded at $0.7654 Thursday local time, up from levels around $0.75 last week.

Angus Nicholson, market analyst at IG, said in a note that as long as the Fed keeps “talking down the dollar,” the Australian currency will remain strong.

The Japanese yen remained at the 112 handle against the dollar, with the dollar/yen pair trading at 112.42. Major exporters traded mixed, with Toyota flat, Nissan up by 0.24 percent and Honda higher by 2.82 percent.

In corporate news, on Wednesday after market close, Taiwan’s Foxconn said it has agreed to acquire Japanese electronics maker Sharp. Reuters reported Foxconn will pay about $3.5 billion for a two-thirds stake, nearly $900 million less than its initial offer. Shares of Sharp were down 2.96 percent.

Shares of airbag maker Takata gained 4.59 percent Thursday, after dropping 19.45 percent on Wednesday. Bloomberg News, citing a person familiar with the matter, reported that Takata estimates the comprehensive callback of its airbag inflators would amount to about 2.7 trillion yen ($24 billion). Takata declined to comment on the story, said Bloomberg.

Toshiba shares advanced 6.09 percent, after the company announced on Wednesday it finalized a deal to sell an 80.1 percent stake in its home appliances unit to China’s Midea Group, according to Japanese newspaper Nikkei. The deal is worth roughly 53.7 billion yen ($477 million),Nikkei said.

The Chinese yuan traded flat against the dollar at 6.4645 Thursday morning local time. Before market open, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) fixed the yuan mid-point rate at 6.4612 to the dollar, compared to Wednesday’s fix at 6.4841. China’s central bank lets the yuan spot rate rise or fall a maximum of 2 percent against the dollar, relative to the official fixing rate.

Oil prices retreated during Asian hours, with U.S. crude futures down 0.7 percent at $38.05 a barrel, while global benchmark Brent slipped 0.53 percent at $39.05.

Energy plays in the region were mixed, with shares of Santos up 0.5 percent, Woodside Petroleum higher by 0.27 percent and Inpex adding 1.63 percent. Chinese mainland shares of Sinopec were off 0.86 percent, while PetroChina fell 0.52 percent.

Overnight, major indexes closed higher, with the Dow Jones industrial average up 0.47 percent, the S&P 500 adding 0.44 percent and the Nasdaq composite higher by 0.47 percent.

Asia markets extend gains after dovish Yellen comments – CNBC}